Respite is a short rest from doing something difficult, and across Virginia over a million caregivers providing millions of hours of unpaid care for loved ones at home are doing something very difficult.

“Caregiving is very stressful,” says Donna Baker, JABA’s Director of Operations, “…its stressful emotionally, and its stressful physically. Caregivers need a break. And there are some things in the community that can help them.”

Indeed, according to an AARP study in 2019, 69% of unpaid caregivers in Virginia reported they were stressed emotionally and 70% reported they were stressed physically. Many unpaid caregivers are trying to work, take care of their own families, and care for an older loved one who needs extra care or supervision. Trying to balance all that can be very difficult.

Fortunately, there are several ways these caregivers can seek help. Homecare agencies are thriving, and they can provide both medical and companion care, depending on what a loved one’s needs are. Many long-term care facilities also provide overnight care so that caregivers can get away for the weekend or go on vacation. Here in Virginia, the Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) also has a relatively new Respite Voucher Program, which provides eligible Virginia caregivers with a $595 reimbursement voucher to cover the costs of temporary, short-term respite care provided to individuals of any age, with a documented disability or medical condition.

Home delivered meals programs, like Meals on Wheels or the one we provide at JABA, are also a good way to reduce the burden of preparing meals while knowing loved ones are getting regular, healthy meals.

Finally, JABA has two Adult Care Centers in Charlottesville and Louisa, which provide supports five days a week for older adults and those 18 and over with disabilities who need supervision. JABA Adult Care Centers provide a fun-filled day of activities, along with professional nursing care and a healthy lunch. Caregivers have found that knowing their loved ones are being well taken care of during the day at our Centers provides much-needed peace of mind, socialization for their loved ones to prevent isolation, and ultimately makes it easier for their loved ones to remain in their homes

“At JABA, we look at our jobs as not just taking care of a caregiver’s loved one, but also taking care of them,” says Baker.