SWODA Aging Services offers respite to caregivers

posted Nov 7, 2016, 11:14 AM by Mary Peck

Many caregivers struggle to provide care for their loved ones on their own. The South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Area Agency on Aging (AAA) believes it is important that caregivers know they are not alone in their struggle to help their loved ones. The SWODA AAA has a program that may benefit many caregivers in southwestern Oklahoma.

The SWODA AAA may provide for respite services for eligible caregivers in partnership with the Department of Human Services, Aging Services Division. Respite services are provided along with other services such as information regarding respite services, assistance with access to respite services, and other supplemental services. These other supplemental services consist of recruiting and training respite providers, and maintaining a registry of respite providers to be given to caregivers.

Caregivers are defined as "people of any age caring for someone 60 years of age or older with two Activities of Daily Living impairments (dressing, bathing, eating, transferring, toileting, or walking) and/or requiring substantial assistance due to a cognitive or other mental impairment." Also served are grandparents 55 years of age or older who care for grandchildren, step-grandchildren, or children related by blood or marriage and who live with the child, serve as primary caregiver, and have a legal relationship with the child (custody, guardianship or raising child informally). The child must be no older than 18 years. 

Studies have shown that caregivers will give better care, maintain their own health, and have reduced levels of stress if they can get away from the responsibilities of providing care even if for only a few hours. Respite does just that. It provides a way for a caregiver to get out of the everyday routine of caring for their loved one. For example, a caregiver has the option of using respite services to go to a doctor’s appointment, get their hair done, visit friends at a coffee shop, or even go to a movie.   

To apply for respite services, a caregiver should call SWODA AAA at (800) 627-4882. If the caregiver qualifies, they may be eligible to receive $500 worth of vouchers. The caregiver can then contract with any person of their choice (other than someone living in the same home or under 18 years old) to provide respite services. There are no income or resource limitations.

These services are funded in part by state and Older Americans Act funds from SWODA AAA and DHS Aging Services

It is policy of SWODA AAA to serve all individuals who are eligible for its programs without regard of race, national origin, ancestry, color, religion, gender, age or disability.