Budget cuts have hit government services hard, sometimes affecting the most vulnerable citizens in our state; one recent casualty is the Legacy Corps program funded by Salt Lake County Aging Services, which provides respite care to caregivers of frail older adults.
See Also: Develop a Respite Plan
Federal funding was eliminated for the program, and with it, the matching funds that Salt Lake County provided, although the county dollars will now go to other programs. The program will close for at least a year, but Salt Lake County is looking for volunteers to fill the need that still exists to provide caregivers some relief.
Previous funding helped provide small stipends and transportation reimbursements to respite workers, whose responsibilities included visiting caregivers’ homes to check for safety problems and help with referrals to additional sources of support. According to Sarah Brenna, Director of Salt Lake Aging Services, the need for volunteers is now focused on people who can teach exercise and arts programs at senior centers, or help provide supervision of other volunteers.
Caregivers often face a heavy burden, and are often unpaid family members who must also balance job and household responsibilities. Having a break to tend to personal needs is crucial to prevent burn-out and handle stress. To help fill the need to serve older people in the county, Salt Lake County is looking for a possible collaboration with the University of Utah, but would also welcome hearing from AARP members.
Helping to provide volunteer support in the community and serving the senior population is of obvious importance to us. Find more information online.
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