HELENA – Caregiving for an ailing loved-one is not an easy job.

A respite care summit was held Wednesday in Helena to highlight the stresses Montana caregivers’ experience.

When disabled people are discharged from the hospital, their families, usually with little to no medical experience, are often times given a list of medications and supplies to assist their loved ones in their care, which can be very draining for the caregiver.

Now there is support for Montana caregivers.

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AARP developed the “Care Act”, which the state of Montana made into law. The act provides free support for Montana’s caregivers; it will take effect October 1 of this year.

Jeanne Reinsberg is a caregiver for her three adopted special-needs grandchildren. Reinsberg said taking care of her grandchildren is hard, but their will to survive is worth it.

“The smiles, unconditional love back. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’re not able to take care of anyone else with having special need children I’m with them 24/7, so the breakaway time for me is very important,” said Reinsberg.

Elaine Ryan, the Vice President of the State Advocacy and Strategy Integration (SASI), Government Affairs Department of the AARP National Office said, “Respite care and taking that break is just critical so you have the strength to carry on.”

According to AARP National Statistics:

Almost half of the 40 million family caregivers in America have performed medical or nursing tasks for their loved ones. These tasks include:

  • Managing multiple medications.
  • Providing wound care.
  • Managing special diets.
  • Giving injections.
  • Operating monitors or other specialized medical equipment.

The CARE Act requires hospitals to:

1.Record the name of the family caregiver on the medical record of your loved one.

2.Inform the family caregivers when the patient is to be discharged.

3.Provide the family caregiver with education and instruction of the medical tasks he or she will need to perform for the patient at home.