Restoring Balance Reach Offers a Respite Program For Parents
It’s summertime and the kids are out of school. But even though summer provides an array of opportunities for family bonding, it can be demanding on a parent’s time and energy and produce added tension and fatigue. When this happens, family time together can turn from joyful to stressful and end with everyone feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope.
Taking time for yourself as a parent is a valuable way to recharge physical and emotional energy.
For families who have children with special needs, having a break is especially important and essential to family well-being.
Respite has been shown to improve family functioning, improve satisfaction with life, enhance the capacity to cope with stress, and improve attitudes toward the family member with a disability. Respite not only helps to relieve stress, it can also restore the family’s energy and balance, giving them the ability to cope with the sometimes extraordinary demands associated with caring for a child with special needs.
Some families who have children with special needs receive funding for respite directly from the government and are responsible for locating and screening their own caregivers and making payment arrangements. For these families, finding the right person can be challenging but necessary for their peace of mind and their child’s comfort and safety.
Reach Child and Youth Development Society operates a government-funded respite program that can help Delta families who have children with special needs utilize respite care services by finding and screening caregivers, and handling payment arrangements.
Respite can be provided occasionally or on a regular basis and services can last from a few hours to a period extending over several nights. Some families prefer to have out-of-home respite, while others arrange for caregivers to work in the family home or in the community.
Reach also offers a group respite program which provides valuable opportunities for children with special needs to develop social skills, cultivate friendships, build self-esteem and raise their community awareness. Participating in a group program also helps decrease possible isolation of children with special needs.
Whether your child is developing typically or has special needs, it is important remember that taking time for yourself should not be considered a luxury–it is a necessity that helps to nurture and sustain family wellness and emotional health. Ultimately, when parents are rested and relaxed, they will have more energy to devote to those fun family summer outings.
Dawn Beazley and Melanie Reid are Respite Care Program Coordinators at Reach Child and Youth Development Society. REach provides services to children from birth to age 19 and their families. For more details call 604-946-6622 or visit reachdevelopment.org.