Austin, Texas – Caring for a loved one is rewarding, but it can also be stressful – mentally, physically, emotionally and financially. To address these concerns, the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) today is launching a website – www.taketimetexas.org – that provides the resources caregivers need to take an occasional break from their day-to-day responsibilities.
TakeTimeTexas.org is the first statewide clearinghouse of information for both caregivers and providers of “respite” services – those services that allow caregivers to take a temporary break in order to restore or strengthen their ability to continue providing care for a child or adult with functional needs.
“Having cared for my mother during her eight-year battle with Alzheimer's disease, I understand the overwhelming challenges that caregivers face every day,” said state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound and chair of the Joint Select Committee on Alzheimer's Disease and of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. “This new resource represents our commitment to the millions of Texans impacted by family illness.”
The centerpiece of TakeTimeTexas.org – which was a result of House Bill 802 and Senate Bill 271 in the 2009 Legislature, as well as a grant from the U.S. Administration on Aging – is the “Texas Inventory of Respite Services,” a searchable database of more than 900 respite care providers across the state. Although similar databases exist on a national level, the inventory is the first to create a comprehensive listing of Texas respite providers. Caregivers can search for providers in their area by name, county served, type of respite provided, age group served or the type of provider.
The website also provides a wide range of caregiver education and training materials, including self-assessment tools, information on identifying and managing stress related to caregiving, disease-specific information and educational programs. For service providers, the website offers an array of training and outreach materials.
TakeTimeTexas.org was created in partnership with the Texas Respite Coordination Center, a grant-funded program of the Texas Association of Regional Councils, in collaboration with the Texas Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
Lawmakers who played a key role in making TakeTimeTexas.org a reality had this to say about this new resource:
· “TakeTimeTexas.org is an outstanding resource for Texans who provide care to persons who are elderly or who have disabilities or chronic diseases," said Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo. "By connecting caregivers with respite service providers and by offering education and training materials, we can reduce stress for caregivers, allow them to remain in the workforce and reduce reliance on costly institutional care."
· “The reality is that most people in long-term care depend exclusively on family and friends, not on paid service providers or institutions,” said Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin. “This project can strengthen not just informal caregiver support services, but also the system of informal care, saving the state money over the long run.”
· “Caregivers play an important role in the lives of many Texans, and it is key that they take the time to maintain their personal health and well-being,” said state Rep. John E. Davis, R-Houston. “This new website will enhance caregivers’ knowledge of the services that are available to them and make it easier to access existing resources. I am proud to have helped create the Texas Lifespan Respite Care Program, and I look forward to the rollout of the ‘TakeTimeTexas.org’ website.”
· “As Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Aging, I am aware of the ongoing demands experienced by caregivers," said Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin. “Due to the stressful nature of caregiving, self-care for those providing assistance is often overlooked. Utilizing the respite care resources found on TakeTimeTexas.org will help bring awareness to this issue and prevent burnout of informal caregivers in Texas.”