Image of two Pathfinder staff members inside the respite home.
Respite is defined as ‘a short period of rest or relief.’ Nowhere is respite more deserved than for those who care for others. I learned this first-hand when my parents were in their last days, and I was their primary caregiver. Though I loved and cherished every moment I had, my mind and body became exhausted and needed periodic breaks. My need for support lasted for the short period of months of each of my parents’ illnesses, and I realize that. The responsibilities of families and caregivers for individuals with disabilities, however, is typically not fleeting.
Most families I know rarely (if ever) complain about needing a break. Not only do they sometimes need and deserve one, the individuals they love and care for benefit from respite as well. Respite support for those with disabilities can take many different forms. Depending upon programs in your area, respite may be available for several hours a week on a routine basis, occasionally overnight, or for several days or more at a time. Respite services provide temporary relief and peace of mind by placing a family member with a disability in capable hands.
One unique respite provider, A Rosie Place for Children in South Bend, provides respite for those who are medically fragile – an often complicated service to provide. Staffed with nurses, doctors on call, and specially trained staff, they are currently Indiana’s only licensed specialty hospital (though it does not ‘feel’ like a hospital) dedicated exclusively to providing respite for children who are medically fragile. Most children who utilize A Rosie Place would not have any other opportunity to have a ‘sleep over’ with their peers, due to their high support medical needs. Who doesn’t love a sleepover?
I have been focusing on our Vantage Grantees in the last few newsletters and will continue to do so here. Along with many of our NE Indiana providers, two of our Vantage Grant recipients have used some of their award dollars to provide additional respite services to the families and communities they serve. Pathfinder Services recently opened a respite home in Roanoke. The goal being for families to have opportunities to engage in other activities while their children/young adults/adults have the opportunity to socialize with their peers in either a day or overnight setting. They even have a gaming room, that I am sure is a big draw for all age groups.
Life Adult Day Academy (LADA) will soon be opening (December 1st) their first respite home. After listening to parents about their needs, LADA has dedicated time and resources to renovate a home for respite purposes. When asked about the benefits of respite services, LADA CEO Lloyd Jones summed it up beautifully, “Families find solace in respite care, gaining a valuable break to recharge,” and “For individuals receiving respite care, it’s more than a pause; it’s an opportunity for new experiences, social connections, and personalized attention.”
As Patti mentions in her article, there are ways all of us can support providing respite for those we know and love. If you, or a family you know, would benefit from outside respite services, reach out to a provider in your area to see what they offer. A listing of respite services across the state of Indiana can also be found at: https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/irca/articles/respite-provider-agencies-in-indiana.html