By Rusty Bradshaw
Families dealing with the stress of caring for a loved one can get a break, thanks to a new program offered through Sun City Community Assistance Network.
CAN and Sun Valley Lodge officials teamed up provide the new resource for low-income Sun City residents, according to Hugh Duncan, CAN board president. The Free Respite Care program will provide temporary institutional care at Sun Valley Lodge, 12415 N. 103rd Ave., for dependent elderly, ill or handicapped persons, providing temporary relief for their usual caregivers.
Both Sun Valley Lodge and Sun City CAN are 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations.
“Even though many families take great joy in providing care to their loved ones so that they can remain at home, the physical, emotional and financial consequences for the family caregiver can be overwhelming without some support, such as respite care,” Mr. Duncan said. “Respite care provides a break for the family caregiver to rest and recharge their batteries.”
The patients of those caregivers who are selected for the program will receive three days of free respite care at Sun Valley Lodge every three to six months, depending upon the availability of funds. Sun Valley Lodge officials are giving Sun City CAN a reduced daily rate for two of the three days and Sun Valley Lodge will provide the third day free of charge, Mr. Duncan explained. If necessary, Sun Valley Lodge will provide transportation to and from the patient’s residence, he added.
“Anyone caring for someone with dementia, cancer or other chronic disease knows just how difficult and consuming it is to care for someone you love,” Mr. Duncan said.
He cited a book titled “The Thirty Six Hour Day” that conveys the stress of coping with the day-to-day challenges of caregiving. But Mr. Duncan also knows first-hand, having cared for his wife prior to her death. It was that experience that prompted him to donate $10,000 from her estate to initiate the program.
“I just thought this was a fitting way to honor her,” Mr. Duncan said.
The new program adds to the CAN stable of community service offerings. CAN officials are always looking for new ways to provide services to those in need, according to board member Rick Gray.
“Our president (Mr. Duncan) has been a strong proponent of this program and it will be a tremendous asset for those who need it,” he said. “It is just one example of how Sun City CAN is always looking out for those in our community.”
To qualify for the program, patient applicants must be a full-time Sun City resident; be a primary caregiver for a dependent elderly, ill or handicapped patient for three months prior to the application; have monthly income less than $1,508 if single or $2,030 if married; be not eligible for Hospice/Medicare respite care program; and have less than $13,300 in savings.
Applications are taken at the CAN office, 10195 W. Coggins Drive, or by calling 623-933-7530.
While Mr. Duncan’s contribution got the program its start, to continue it needs continued infusions of cash. Donations for the Free Respite Care program are accepted at the CAN office. Checks should be made out to Sun City CAN and earmarked “Free Respite Care.” Other donations to CAN may also be directed to the Free Respite Care program.
Sun City CAN looks out for the fiscal health of residents by providing services that extend beyond just the utility and tax costs, according to Mr. Gray.
“But we are also continuing to assist people with their utility bills by providing financial assistance for those who qualify for help because of their income level,” he said. “Sun City is blessed to have multiple organizations that work together rather than in competition with each other. CAN has a unique and vital service for our community and I wish everyone in Sun City knew how much SCCAN does to benefit those living here.”