November is National Family Caregivers Month. This month, caregivers are honored for their dedication in taking care of their loved ones. It is important that caregivers know they are not alone in their struggle to help their loved ones. The South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Area Agency on Aging (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, and the Oklahoma Respite Resource Network (ORRN). 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 individuals 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 eighteen 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 the SWODA AAA at 1-800-627-4882, ext 127.
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