SWODA Aging Services offers respite to caregivers

posted Aug 21, 2017, 8:11 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 provides for respite services for eligible caregivers in partnership with the Department of Human Services, Aging Services Division.

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 caregivers 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 will 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 to race, national origin, ancestry, color, religion, gender, age or disability.

SWODA is one of 11 Councils of Government in the state. SWODA’s region of service includes municipalities, counties and conservation districts in Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita counties.