Tuesday, September 13, 2011

respite care awareness

Respite care is a ‘gift of time’, a ‘break’, a provision of short-term, temporary relief to those who are caring for family members. It’s about addressing caregiver / carer burn-out.

Respite care ‘awareness’ is about education. Unless you have walked in carer/ caregiver shoes likely you do not have a clue how consuming and overwhelming it all can become – or more importantly what can you do.

“WHEREAS, Families are Pennsylvania's most important and constant care providers for individuals with extraordinary care needs, such as developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, Alzheimer's disease, mental and emotional disorders, and extreme medical need; and

 WHEREAS, this important job can become stressful for the individual providing care, particularly due to the often constant demands -- many times it is a 24-hour a day commitment;

 WHEREAS, citizens who provide respite care to persons with special needs are providing an important and highly valuable service to those individuals and their families, and to their communities.

 THEREFORE, In recognition of the unique and important service that respite caregivers offer to the many selfless individuals caring for Pennsylvania's most vulnerable population, I, Tom Corbett, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim September 25th through October 1, 2011, RESPITE CARE AWARENESS WEEK throughout the Commonwealth”

I confess that my own awareness of ‘respite care awareness week’ was only because Cumberland Perry Respite gave me a heads up a week ago. A designated awareness week seems an opportunity to promote awareness in general and more importantly services for caregivers of any specific illness/disability. However I was surprised (and not surprised) to discover after a Google search only one related event in Pennsylvania, a Respite Resource Fair in Pittsburgh sponsored by United Cerebral Palsy.

Admittedly there has been an earthquake, hurricane, tropical storm, and record flooding to dominate both lives and the news, yet the sounds of silence from the Pennsylvania chapters of major non-profit disease and/or care organizations is rather deafening. Not unlike the sound that usually follows the mention of the phrase ‘respite care’.

***updated 9/19 - Respite Care Awareness Week Proclamation from Cumberland County Commissioners

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer 
videos: www.youtube.com/daddyleer
web site: caregivinglyyours.com  


  1. I peeked at the fair offered through United Cerebral Palsy; seemed like it could be a good one, but only offered for two hours; that in itself could be hard to get to if one was a caregiver, especially evening hours. I can see awareness would be beneficial; I think actually making sure there are services out there that provide respite care that people can qualify for that doesn't cost an arm and a leg would be more of benefit, but I guess they have to get the awareness of it out there first?


  2. Betty, I suspect I'm preaching to the choir in this blog. Awareness to the already aware is one step forward next the bigger step to the unaware.


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