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Training grant available for family caregivers

A federal grant will provide support and training for respite care and caregivers, according to the North Dakota Department of Human Services, along with developing a voucher program for emergency respite care.

The $200,000 Lifespan Respite Care grant is through the Aging Services Division of the Administration for Community Living, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The department will administer the three-year grant in partnership with the North Dakota Respite Care Coalition and AARP.

“Taking care of family caregivers makes sense,” said Nancy Maier, director of the Aging Services Division. “They are providing much-needed unpaid care and support to children with disabilities and adults at home where individuals want to live. Offering training and respite can reduce stress, support the quality of life of both care recipients and caregivers, while saving individuals, their families and society millions of dollars in care costs.”

North Dakota House Bill 1038, passed in 2017, directed the department to apply for the grant. A 2016 North Dakota State University study found that a lack of sufficient respite care was the most common challenge reported by family caregivers.

An estimated 64,400 informal caregivers in North Dakota help loved ones with chores, transportation, food preparation, bathing, medication administration, supervision and other care needs, according to the 2014 Family Caregiver Alliance Caregiving across the States report.

The grant steering committee intends to address gaps and promote systemic change and support to respite care providers who typically face stress, exhaustion and financial strain, Maier said. By supporting families, she said individuals will have a lower risk of institutionalization, she said.

For more information, contact the Aging and Disability Resource Link at 1-855-462-5465 (1-855-GO2-LINK), ND Relay TTY 1-800-366-6888, or www.carechoice.nd.gov.

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