COA receives caregiver respite support grant from Home Health Foundation

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The Chatham County Council on Aging is pleased to announce continued support from Home Health Foundation of Chapel Hill in the awarding of a grant to help fund its family caregiver respite program.

Valued at $23,700, the grant extends a multi-year partnership between the COA and Home Health Foundation in providing relief for family caregivers of Chatham County — who are often taxed mentally and physically in the effort to keep loved ones at home as opposed to being placed in a facility.

Since 2018, the council’s family caregiver respite program has served 100 families. In that timeframe, only 6% of caregivers have had to place their loved ones in a long-term care facility. The grant will also aid the council in its efforts to increase the number of respite hours available per client.

“We are pleased and honored to continue our association with Home Health Foundation of Chapel Hill in the funding of our family caregiver respite program,” COA Executive Director Ashlyn Martin said. “Caregiver respite is among our core services at the council, and it is through the generosity of partners such as Home Health Foundation that allow us to keep the older adults of Chatham County where they desire to be the most — safe and secure in their homes.”

Through the grant, the council will seek to serve additional family caregivers who are awaiting service and launch the start of the “R.E.S.T.” (Running Errands and Sleep Time) program, a form of group caregiver respite held in churches throughout Chatham County, with trained volunteers. This service was on the precipice of launch, but was suspended due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Family caregivers have been considered the backbone of long-term care, but the constant stress of caregiving takes a toll on the caregiver. A 2016 report of the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities revealed that nearly half of caregivers felt they had no choice in taking on the role.

Additionally, a 2019 AARP survey of 800 North Carolina voters aged 40 or over revealed that 53% of respondents were current or former caregivers, with 56% likely to be caregivers in the future. The typical family caregiver in the survey was a 60-year-old female, who also represents the initial age of entry into Council on Aging services.

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