The coronavirus (COVID-19) has been eye opening and stressful for everyone. It has us all rethinking how we go about our daily lives – from how we work and shop to how we handle our basic daily household tasks. While we all feel the impact of the virus, those caring for an individual with a developmental disability are finding these times even more challenging.
Since the announcement of “shelter in place” orders in March, many businesses have been forced to either close their doors or offer limited services. However, UCP’s Family Respite Program chose to step up its services to ensure its clients continue getting the care, rest and support they have come to rely on. Now more than ever.
So, what is the result of our decision to expand services? Since the stay-at-home directive was given, UCP Family Respite provided 28,697 hours of respite care to clients over the last month – an increase of more than 4,000 hours from previous months. To meet this increased demand of families seeking assistance, UCP made it possible for part-time team members to work full-time. The decision helped families receive respite are, and provided respite workers with an opportunity to bring in more income during a time of financial uncertainty.*
Layoffs and reduced income have led to increased stress over mortgage payments, rent, household and healthcare expenses for our clients. Knowing UCP Family Respite is there to help, without any cost for services, helps families see the light at the end of the tunnel.
When asked about the impact of Covid-19 on Respite families, Shannon Kemp, UCP’s Family Respite Manager said, “Clients are grateful for the extra help right now. The response to our additional service hours has been overwhelming. People feel stressed, depressed, and scared. The increased demands of caring for their child and handling the day to day household activities has left caregivers with no time to recharge and take care of themselves. >With UCP Family Respite, a child receives quality time and attention while providing parents with time to recharge so they can be at their best once they are back ‘on duty’ as caregivers.
“Self-care is essential to a parent’s well-being and to that of their children. We know that when the parent or main caregiver in the family becomes too overwhelmed or stressed, the physical and mental health of the whole family is at risk. Respite gives parents a break by giving them time to go for a walk or run, enjoy some privacy, read a book, call a friend, spend time with other family members, or take a much-needed nap,” explains Shannon.
For many of our clients, COVID-19 has drastically altered their daily lives, cutting them off from resources and programs they have come to rely on.
Children who are usually at a day program or school are now at home requiring additional attention and support.
Adults who would normally attend UCP Adult Day Programs are now staying at home, often with older parents to care for them.
Parents who are usually at work are simultaneously working from home for the first time and realizing the stress of juggling work with caring for their loved ones.
Bottom line: This is a trying time for everyone. UCP’s Respite program is here to provide families with the support they need, not only during times of crisis but any time a caregiver needs a break. Learn more about UCP’s Family Respite program to see if you can qualify for services.
*As a result of California’s “stay at home” directives, the Alta California Regional Center increased the hours of respite service available to all families who rely on respite. Now, every family has access to 120 hours of respite care every three months, and for those parents who work in health care or are first responders, the amount of respite hours available may be even higher