Vail Daily column: Give the gift of respite this season | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Give the gift of respite this season

Wendy Miller
My View

“Home for the holidays” has a special meaning for caregivers who are struggling to keep their loved ones in a home environment during the holidays. It can be a lonely time for caregivers who may feel they are often forgotten by friends and even family members, and many have to put their own lives on hold. While others might recognize the sacrifice a caregiver is making, just telling them what a great job they do isn’t nearly enough.

What could really help caregivers is a few hours of respite. Although we take it for granted, going to the store and taking your time is something that can be a real treat for a caregiver.

Getting some much-needed sleep knowing a loved one is in good hands can also be a true gift. With the added stress of caring for someone else, it is not uncommon for caregivers to struggle with depression and declining health of their own. So, if you know a caregiver, consider giving them a gift of respite this holiday season, and here are a few ideas:

• Offer to stay with their loved one while they take care of their own needs.

• Arrange for in-home help from a licensed care-giving agency. For example, Eagle Valley Senior Life’s Caregiver Assistance Fund is a good way to give the gift of respite for a caregiver — even if that caregiver is you. The nonprofit EVSL has partnered with HomeCare and Hospice of the Valley, Visiting Angels, and Caring4You Homecare to offer an eligible caregiver up to 30 hours of in-home respite care a quarter. It is a great opportunity for someone who isn’t already using in-home help, has a short-term need or who has been reluctant to bring someone into the home and turn over the care to another person. The respite is provided after completing some paperwork with the licensed agency administering the care, while the bill gets sent to Eagle Valley Senior Life. All agencies are offering a discounted rate as part of this program.

• If you know a caregiver who is already using in-home licensed help, consider giving them a check written out to that agency as a gift. Rates vary from $30 to $35 per hour with either a two or three-hour minimum, with a possible travel charge.

• Invite a caregiver and their loved one over for lunch or dinner. Lack of socialization and feelings of isolation and abandonment can be a common complaint of caregivers.

• Sponsor a senior or caregiver with a tax-deductible donation to Eagle Valley Senior Life. You can specific if you’d like your gift can go towards the Caregiver Assistance Fund or to the EVSL’s Senior Spot, an adult day service program for seniors with dementia and other disabilities, which is another opportunity for caregivers to receive a much-needed break.

For more information or to donate to EVSL’s Caregiver Assistance Fund or the Senior Spot, go to http://www.evslife.org or call Wendy Miller, executive director of EVSL, at 970-977-0188. Checks can be sent to Eagle Valley Senior Life, P.O. Box 394, Minturn, 81645.

Wendy Miller is executive director of Eagle Valley Senior Life.