FRIENDS OF HOSPICE, SW WASHINGTON - CAREGIVER RESPITE PROGRAM
Let me share a story... A true story about an amazing family that had their very normal life shattered when they were told that the husband (and father of 3 beautiful daughters), was diagnosed with a terminal disease, ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease. This is a family, maybe much like your family, that were busy with everyday NORMAL events like working, raising children, planning for retirement, graduations, weddings, and grandchildren. Normal daily events changed quickly with Akhil's progressing disease that rapidly debilitated him, leaving him completely dependent upon his wife, Laura's 24-hour a day care and support. Can you even begin to imagine how this would change your life if you suddenly had to become a full-time, unpaid caregiver for someone you loved?
There are currently 40 million unpaid caregivers in the U.S., just like Laura, providing an invaluable resource in caring for someone who is terminally ill or disabled so they can remain in their own home. In Clark County alone we have approximately 55,000 extraordinary caregivers who are unselfishly foregoing normalcy to care for their family member, a friend, or a neighbor. These caregivers aren't strangers; they may be your best friend, your next door neighbor, your mother, father, sister or brother.
Although these incredible caregivers will tell you "They wouldn't have it any other way," this type of responsibility doesn't come without a price. You see, life for a caregiver doesn't include normal activities that many of us take for granted, such as;
- Time for holding down a paying job
- Time for going to a doctor, dental, or preventative health appointment
- Time for sleep, exercise, eating properly
- Time for attending family gatherings, or important events: weddings, graduations, family reunions
These amazing individuals many times suffer from symptoms including; fatigue, stress, pain, depression, guilt, improper nutrition, and for some misuse of alcohol or prescription drugs, that they unfortunately turn to just to cope. Most of the time they are the last person to recognize their own suffering from physical and mental exhaustion. NORMAL is no more a part of their life... how very, very sad, for they did nothing to deserve all of this responsibility. But they will tell you, "They wouldn't have it any other way."
Help us provide a little help as Friends of Hospice SW Washington has piloted a new program this year to help bring "NORMAL" back into the non-paid caregiver's life. The Caregiver Respite Program allows family and friend caregivers working with Peace Health SW Hospice Program, to take a few days off to recharge so that they have the strength, energy, and spirit to carry on. Currently respite care is typically a privately funded service. Most insurance programs do not pay for this desperately needed relief. Even though Medicare does allow periodic respite care at facilities, such as, the Ray Hickey Hospice House; not all terminally ill individuals are able to use this benefit or they may have special needs beyond what this wonderful facility can support.
Friends of Hospice SW Washington is deeply committed to this cause. We have set our first year goal to raise $20,000 which will support families with much needed relief from caregiving. With the help of individuals such as yourself we can not only meet our goal but hopefully double that number by next year. Collectively, we can partner together to make a significant impact on individuals so in need of our support. Take a minute to listen to Laura an Akhil's story of how Friends of Hospice SW Washington Caregiver Respite Fund Program gave them back a little NORMAL.