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Arkansas Launches Respite Care Program to Support Families Living with Dementia

06/21/2022

(Little Rock, AR) – The Arkansas Legislative Council on Friday, June 17, approved the creation of and funding for the Dementia Respite Care Pilot Program to support the 93,000+ Arkansans providing care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. The program, the first of its kind in Arkansas, was established by the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Advisory Council, part of Act 391 of the 93rd General Assembly.

In addition to authorizing the Respite Program, the Council has worked to update Arkansas’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia Disease State Plan. Key entities involved in the Council include the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS), Alzheimer’s Association, and Alzheimer’s Arkansas.

“Alzheimer’s disease has a devastating impact not just on those living with the disease, but it also places an extreme burden on their caregivers,” said DHS Secretary Cindy Gillespie. “It’s a job that usually falls to family members and friends, and the toll it takes emotionally, physically, and financially can be devastating. This program will help.”

The Respite Program provides $500 respite grants to enable caregivers to take a break from caregiving – whether that’s time to focus on self-care, recharge, take care of other family members, or just get out of the house to do routine activities non-caregivers take for granted.

Respite care benefits both the caregiver – decreases social isolation and withdrawal; provides time for a caregiver to rest; reduces stress and anxiety associated with daily caregiving duties – and the care recipient – provides a social connection outside of a family member; establishes a level of comfort and confidence in receiving care from an outside caregiver.

Under the Respite Program, families can receive two grants during a calendar year (with at least six months between approved dates). To qualify, care recipients must live in Arkansas and have a primary or secondary diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or other dementia. Additionally, the diagnosis must state that the patient requires daily assistance.

Respite Program grants come from a $200,000 investment, funded through the Social Services Block Grant. The program will ensure the money is invested in the families that need access to critical respite services, and the funds will be used exclusively for grants to provide respite services. None of the funds will be used for administrative costs.

The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Respite Care Pilot Program is administered by the DHS Division of Provider Services and Quality Assurance.

These grants are available now and interested parties can apply starting today. To learn more about the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Respite Care Pilot Program and to apply for assistance, please visit www.ALZark.org/grants, email grants@ALZark.org, or call 501-224-0021, extension 210.

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