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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / res·pite   (rěs'pĭt)  /   Editorial List  

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res·pite   (rěs'pĭt)


1.  A usually short interval of rest or relief.
2.  Law Temporary suspension of a death sentence; a reprieve.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language

Or my favorite definition of respite which comes from the ARCH National Respite Network:  “Respite is temporary relief for caregivers and families who are caring for those with disabilities, chronic or terminal illnesses, or the elderly”.

How about a nice bit of news to start the year off with?  Our heartfelt congratulations to Jill Kagan and The Lifespan Respite Task Force, a coalition of over 170 national, state, and local organizations, for their tireless work over the past few years which culminated in President Bush’s signature on a new law, The Lifespan Respite Care Act of 2006 (HR 3248 ). The bill was introduced and championed in the US House of Representatives by Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-NJ) and James Langevin (D-RI). A companion bill in the Senate was cosponsored by Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Senator John Warner (R-VA).

As you well know, even though most caregiving families take great joy in providing care to our loved ones so that they can remain at home, the physical, emotional and financial consequences can be overwhelming without some support, such as respite care.  

This new law would authorize $289 million over five years for state grants to develop Lifespan Respite Programs to help caregiving families access quality, affordable respite care. 

When the bill passed the House, Rep. Ferguson, whose own father was a caregiver for his ill mother for 6 years said , “Today's action by the House of Representatives represents not only an important victory for family caregivers nationwide, but it also sends America's caregivers a clear message: Your selfless sacrifice is appreciated, and help is on the way.” 

Well, it seems as if the cavalry is finally coming and not a moment too soon.  


Gary Barg

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