Respite aims to help Alzheimers caregivers in Missouri

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COLUMBIA - Beginning June 5, the Greater Missouri Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association will reimburse qualified independent caregivers of those with Alzheimer's disease up to $1,000.

The reimbursement program known as "Respite" is open to those who fit the following criteria:

  • Live in the same home as the person receiving care
  • Are the primary caregiver for the loved one suffering from Alzheimer's or related dementia
  • Send verification form to 2400 Bluff Creek Drive, Columbia, MO 65201
There are a number of things independent caregivers can be reimbursed for. Those include:
  • Substitute caregiver
  • Adult day care
  • Short-term stay in assisted living facility
  • Home-care products, if purchased in bulk quantities
  • Alzheimer's specific medications such as Namenda, Exelon and Razadyne
  • Assistive services (transportation, therapeutic services etc.)
  • Other separate expenses may be approved

The goal of "Respite" is to reduce the challenges associated with providing care for loved ones. The association believes providing money will directly affect financial burdens and also indirectly affect the psychological burdens on caregivers.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, total care spent by independent caregivers on loved ones for Alzheimer's and other dementia-related expenses totaled $217.7 billion in 2014. Due to health problems cause by constantly providing care, caregivers also spent $9.7 billion on additional health care for themselves last year.

Additionally, caregiving takes a psychological toll. Over 40 percent of caregivers of those with Alzheimer's and dementia-related diseases suffer from depression while 75 percent said they are "somewhat" or "very" concerned about maintaining their own health since becoming a caregiver.

"Imagine providing pretty expensive care for somebody all day every day and each day that you do it, they need more care. What we know is the health of the people providing this care is significantly impacted," said Beth Kallmyer, Alzheimer's Association Vice President of Constituency Services.

With some of the financial burden reduced through financial reimbursement and psychological burden reduced by allowing reimbursement for short-term assisted living care, "Respite" aims to provide caregivers exactly that: respite.

The deadline to submit verification paperwork is June 5.