Up to one quarter of individuals living with MS require long-term care services at some point during the course of the disease. Often, a family member steps into the role of primary caregiver to be closer to the individual with MS and involved in care decisions. This is typically less costly than placing an individual in a long-term care facility and also keeps the individual in the community and in their home. Caregiving can be a stressful job, however, and respite is often sought.
Respite care is short-term care that helps an individual or family take a break from the daily routine and stress of providing care. It is an essential part of the overall support that families need to provide quality care and keep their loved one at home, by providing quality time to care for themselves. A federal program was started in 2006 to help establish or enhance statewide respite systems that serve regardless of age or disability. This program--the Lifespan Respite Care Program--offers great assistance and hope but has been severely underfunded.
The New York Times blog recently featured Lifespan Respite and the Society urges individuals and chapters to post comments about their personal experiences with caregiving or needing caregiving and the benefits of the Lifespan Respite Care Program. Robust funding for the Lifespan Respite Care Program is a priority for the Society and we have worked in close collaboration with the National Respite Coalition on this issue. Click here to read the blog article and post a comment.