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The Arc and respite care


The fourth program being highlighted by the Arc of LaGrange County is respite care. Respite Care is supporting individuals, sustaining caregivers, and strengthening families. Respite is part of the overall support system that families need to maintain their loved ones at home. Sometimes parents and caregivers need a break from the constant demands caring for their child/adult with disabilities demands of them.

    The community can support the Respite Care program by attending a benefit Haystack Breakfast from 7-11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov, 17, at the Topeka Fire Station. All of the proceeds from this breakfast will be used to provide the “gift of time” for families who need a much deserved break.

    All parents need time away from their children to rest, regroup, pursue other interests, and develop other relationships. Many of the options and outlets which are routine to others such as sitters (care providers) are difficult for families with a child or adult with a developmental disability. No one can accurately estimate the physical, emotional, and financial costs incurred by the families who have a member with a developmental disability.

    Daily care of individuals with disabilities can be a demanding job. Without time to rest and refresh, most parents begin to wear out. The Arc of LaGrange County Respite Care program helps keep families of persons with developmental disabilities together by giving them time apart.

    The Arc of LaGrange County opened the “Geraldine C. Prisock Memorial Respite Care Home” for just such a purpose. Geraldine Prisock was instrumental in helping to start The Arc in LaGrange County and had a vision of creating a respite care home for a long time prior to her death.

    In fact, it was her last wish that respite care would become a reality for the families who cared day in and day out for their loved ones with a disability. She knew firsthand how the demands of caring for someone could wear you down. She listened as families shared their stories. She heard their needs and went to work to address them.

    The respite care home is located on the grounds of The Arc. The home is fully accessible, contains five private bedrooms, has a wheelchair roll in-shower or a Parker bathtub that facilitates a tub bath for an individual who is confined to a wheelchair or for individuals who have poor upper body muscle control. The tub will tilt back to ensure the individual doesn’t fall forward into the water. The kitchen has two stovetops, one at the regular height as well as one that is wheelchair accessible on the countertop to allow as much independence as possible while preparing meals.



    Respite care is the planned, temporary care of an individual with a disability when the primary caregiver is not available or simply needs a break. Respite care is available for as little as four hours or up to two weeks at a time. This allows caregivers the “gift of time” to use in whatever way is most helpful to them and their families – a reprieve, or respite, from the inherent demands of constant care. The purpose of respite care is to alleviate the load of responsibility for the primary caregiver intermittently in order to avoid burnout.

    With the opportunity for an occasional break, caregivers who use respite care report they are better able to maintain a positive attitude, returning to their role as caregiver refreshed and rejuvenated.

    The Respite Care Home serves infants, children, adolescents, and adults who meet eligibility requirements as determined by the Division of Disability Rehabilitation Services (DDRS). Respite care staff are over age 18, have met state training requirements, have a valid driver’s license and references, are trained in CPR and first aid, and are committed to providing caregivers with the break they need to recharge their batteries.

    When you don’t have someone totally dependent upon you for their care it is oftentimes hard to imagine what it would be like to be tied down every moment of every day. To not be able to run to the grocery store or attend a sporting event of one of your other children, go to church, a wedding, or a funeral or take a much needed vacation. There are so many things that we all take for granted and yet not everyone is as fortunate as us. What can we do?

    Debra Seman, CEO of The Arc of LaGrange County, shared a quote from Helen Keller that really resonates with her, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Working together we can and will make a difference for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and their families here in LaGrange County.

    If you would like to tour the home or obtain more information on how to access respite care services, contact Ashley Walters at (260) 463-2653. What else can you do? Offer to pay the fees for a family who doesn’t have a funding source so that they can take a temporary break, volunteer to give a family member a break, or, if you can, say a prayer that the caregivers will be given strength for their task.