No particular background or skillset is needed for respite volunteers. This realization can offset stress and place the emphasis where it belongs: the chance to love people well in the name of Jesus.
Did you know families living with disability consistently name respite care as their top unmet need?
A recent Joni and Friends survey identified respite care as the top unmet need among families living with disability. Many parents and caregivers who lack respite care options have to just keep going despite exhaustion, isolation, and discouragement. Disability advocate Jennifer Evans joins the podcast to talk about the gift of respite—how providing this type of rest can enable families to experience the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
What is respite care?
An estimated forty-four million American adults serve as unpaid, informal family caregivers. Among caregivers, isolation, chronic stress, and depression run high, as responsibilities continue relentlessly.
Some families have expressed that the demands of raising a child with a disability can be overwhelming and all-consuming. And many marriages struggle under the strain of caregiving.
Respite care is essential for families navigating disability to thrive. From simple home visits to overnight programs, all forms of respite care share a common goal—to give parents and other caregivers a break. Depending on a family’s specific needs, respite care can take many forms. For example:
- Home visits
- Structured events
How can respite care build relationships?
Beyond offering parents and other caregivers a break, Jennifer shared that respite care gives children and adults with disabilities the chance to build new friendships. Parents in need of respite can connect with one another; and often volunteer respite caregivers form relationships with the families they serve.
So often people with disabilities are isolated at home, only with their parent or caregiver.
At respite events, people with disabilities can build friendships with peers and volunteers. Community and connection can naturally arise from respite care events and ministries. For families who feel isolated, this experience of belonging can make all the difference.