FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN /
res·pite (rěs'pĭt) /
A usually short
interval of rest or relief.
2. Law Temporary suspension of a death sentence;
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.