A 2009 report to the Texas legislature, showed that informal senior caregivers provided approximately 3.2 billion hours of caregiving. The dedication of Texas caregivers saves the state about $34 billion in annual healthcare costs. The report also showed that less than one third of caregivers were employed. That translates to about a third of Texas caregivers, who devote full time hours towards senior caregiving. This report showed the Texas legislators that seniors caregivers are that backbone of the long-term care system.
The 81st Texas legislature offered help to senior caregivers with a new program called Take Time Texas. The program created the Texas Lifespan Respite Care Program, which is administered by the Texas Respite Coordination Center to help educate Texas senior caregivers in their role. The program also refers caregivers to existing resources within their communities.
The Texas Lifespan Respite Care Program (TLRCP) offers senior caregivers a temporary break to provide a period of relief and rest. The program provides in-home and out-of-home services. The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) funds at least three new community organizations every two years.
The Lifespan Respite Care Partner in the Houston and Gulf Coast area is:
Care Connection ADRC Houston and Gulf Coast area Toll-free number: 1-855-937-2372 Website: www.careconnection.org
Counties served: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller, Wharton
Senior caregivers who provide care in the Houston area can find help and support for themselves by contacting the Harris County Area Agency on Aging (AAA). As part of the program, the Family Caregiver Support Network is a local resource that works to identify resources and assists and promotes awareness to caregivers who care for the elderly. The AAA Family Caregiver Support Network offers help for seniors age 60 and older, grandparents caring for grandchildren, and people with developmental disabilities. Getting supplemental services, lessens the burden of daily caregiving and helps them maintain their duties longer while keeping themselves healthy.
Senior caregivers can use the program to attain the following services:
Information on local resources
Assistant in accessing services
Referrals for counseling programs
Referrals for support groups
Library of resources and trainings for caregivers, including bilingual resources
Respite care for temporary caregiver relief
Supplemental services to complement caregiver services
The Area Agency on Aging of the Houston-Galveston Area is another resource where family caregivers can find temporary respite services when they feel stressed and overwhelmed. The program targets family caregivers who care for an older adult who has functional impairment, but does not require institutionalization. The respite program provides services in the senior’s home or in an adult day care facility on a short-term, temporary basis. Caregivers may use this resource to further their own education on eldercare matters, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or senior caregiving. This program holds informational seminars and focus groups. Caregivers may be able to attend individual or group counseling. The program also helps provide trained support facilitators and support groups.
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