Friday, March 19, 2010

Caring For The Caregiver

Many people living with MS will need long-term care at some point in their life, and families typically act as full time caregivers. Being a primary caregiver can be physically straining, emotionally stressful, and may cause personal health problems for the caregiver. The Lifespan Respite Act grants states federal funding to help coordinate respite care by:
  • developing a network of accessible, community based services
  • recruiting and training respite workers
  • enhancing caregiver training and empowerment
Currently, respite services are difficult to obtain, and often restricted to specific populations defined by age or disease. NC is one of the 12 original states to receive the Lifespan Respite Care Program grant in 2009. Our state is working to:

  • Improve statewide coordination of respite care services. Programs like NCcareLink will continue to grow, thus benefiting the community as well as providers.
  • Enhance infrastructure and respite awareness through new relationships with faith and medical communities. One example is the Community Care Network of NC.
  • Develop a statewide respite education and public awareness initiative. This will take place later in the project and use social media and PR to engage more volunteers, communities, and local providers.
  • Work with the new State Advisory Team to build NC's capacity across service delivery systems.

Abby Emanuelson, the NC MS Society's Public Policy Director is serving on the State Advisory Team, so your concerns can be directly communicated to decision makers. All you have to do is speak out! Also, the NC MS Society is part of the NC Respite Care Coalition, which is an excellent resource if you are looking to get involved with respite services.

If you have used any state respite services, let us know about your experience. For those of you who are just learning about the program, I encourage you to continue your research, and share your findings. One of the programs goals is to raise awareness about the program, you can help!

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