Montana Lifespan Respite Coalition celebrates family caregiver month: November is National Family Caregiver Month

The Montana Lifespan Respite Coalition and the Department of Public Health and Human Services, is encouraging Montanans this November to celebrate National Family Caregiver Month.

The theme this year is “Caregiving Around the Clock.”

DPHHS recognizes the vital service caregivers in Montana provide.

“Montana’s network of family caregivers is invaluable to the health and well-being of our seniors, people with disabilities and families,” said DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan. “I recognize the hard work and sacrifice that life as a caregiver demands, and have great respect for all who serve their loved ones in this way.”

Montana is the home of over 118,000 family caregivers who have an essential role in our care system. Family caregivers provide daily assistance in managing health and personal care needs, ultimately enabling their loved ones to remain in their homes for longer periods of time. According to a 2015 AARP Montana survey, the value of this unpaid care in Montana is estimated at $1.43 billion per year.

According to Kerrie Reidelbach of the DPHHS Lifespan Respite Program, the Montana Lifespan Respite Coalition has been working since 2011 to help educate caregivers of all ages about the importance of taking a respite, or break, from their caregiving responsibilities.

“The Coalition has been providing respite vouchers to help family caregivers get the break they need,” she said.

Funds are available on a sliding scale, through August 2018, to make respite care affordable for all Montana caregivers. To date, the Montana Lifespan Respite program has served over 300 families, covering 35 of Montana’s 56 counties.

“The responsibility of family caregivers is growing every year and it is essential to encourage them to take a breather and re-energize in order to continue their journey and remain a healthy caregiver,” Reidelbach stressed. “It’s important this month, and all year long, that we recognize the challenges family caregivers face when their loved ones need round-the-clock care.”

For more information and resources about the respite program, go to www.respite.mt.gov.

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