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Respite Services

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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

A couple of years ago, I had a serious illness. I went 196 days, over six months, hooked up to feeding and draining equipment while lying, staring at the ceiling. It was hard on me but I'm convinced it was just as hard on Joyce, my wife and caregiver.

Many of us at one time or other find it necessary to become a caregiver for a loved one. Unfortunately, many of these heroic caregivers are risking their own personal well being and sometimes their family life in the process.

Dr. Dale A. Lund and Dr. Scott D. Wright have prepared a brochure that discusses what services are available for caregivers. It is called RESPITE SERVICES: ENHANCING THE QUALITY OF DAILY LIFE FOR CAREGIVERS AND PERSONS WITH DEMENTIA.

Family caregivers provide 80% of all the caregiving in the United.States. But we need to be careful in applying the label of "hero" if we end up encouraging caregivers to exceed their capabilities and sacrifice other highly valued and important parts of their lives. Depressed, divorced, and burned-out heroes will not be able to be caregivers for long.

Caregivers need much assistance. However, what the authors of this brochure found is that one service stands out because it has the potential to improve or at least preserve the quality of their daily lives. The authors found that having respite times was their most desired and needed service. They frequently heard such comments as: "I miss being with my friends." "I wish our family could take a short vacation like we did before." "If only I could get a few moments of alone time, it would help me be more patient."

Home health agencies can provide professionally trained people who make home visits and offer some in-home respite care. There is also daycare service, and Video Respite, which is a series of 20-50 minute videotapes that the Gerontology Center developed to capture and maintain the attention of people needing caregiving.

If you are now a caregiver or anticipate the time when you may be, contact Drs. Lund and Wright at the University of Utah Gerontology Center. Their brochure could prove very helpful.

This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank. I'm speaking on business.

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