The Nebraska Caregiver Coalition Visionary Committee created a respite night for parents of special needs children July 19 at Homestead Rehabilitation Center as part of a pilot program to enhance the lives of caregivers.
The evening was patterned after the Masterpiece Respite night held at First Free Church. Matt Romshek, administrator of Homestead Rehabilitation Center, hosted the event. The children and Homestead residents, as well as Visionary Committee volunteer members and other Coalition members, were matched and participated in activities ... games, painting, exercise, snacks and sharing. The kiddos enjoyed themselves, as did the residents and volunteers, and it gave the parents a few hours of relief from caregiving duties.
The Nebraska Caregiver Coalition is a group of professionals, as well as former and active caregivers, who meet the first Tuesday of each month to get updates about current legislative bills in progress that affect caregivers and to plan events to support and recognize caregivers. Their mission is to increase awareness, education and statewide support for caregivers.
The Coalition has 55 members across the state. They have advocated for such policies as the Assisting Caregiver Transitions Act and the Aging and Disability Resource Centers, both of which were passed successfully, as well as others. They formed a Nebraska Special Needs Ministry Network that meets regularly to encourage and provide resource information for those with special needs across the state to be included in ministry.
For the past several years, Days of Caring have been held in rural areas around the state – Kearney, Beatrice, Columbus, Nebraska City, Bridgeport – to bring a day of relaxation plus information and resources to caregivers in the surrounding area. The Coalition has had the governor sign proclamations each November for National Caregiver and Respite Month and holds a luncheon at the Governor’s Mansion to celebrate caregivers and recognize the contribution they make in the state. An estimated 195,000 family caregivers across Nebraska provide 182 million hours of unpaid care valued at about $2.5 billion annually.
For more details on the Nebraska Caregiver Coalition, see www.facebook.com/NebCaregiverCoalition/