In addition to respite breaks and caregiver education, Alabama Lifespan Respite offers Care Chats (one-on-one support hours available by phone or video conferencing) with ALR social worker staff, B.R.E.A.K. support groups, and caregiver mental health education opportunities to help increase overall caregiver wellness.

To further support the total wellbeing of unpaid, full-time family caregivers statewide, Alabama Lifespan Respite has established the Caregiver Wellness Initiative (CWI) to increase available Emergency Respite reimbursement funds and designate funds specifically for mental health counseling to caregivers currently enrolled with any ALR reimbursement program.

Qualified caregivers seeking one-on-one counseling with a licensed mental health provider who is familiar with caregiver mental health issues and related stressors as they affect individuals and/or families (parents, marriages, siblings) may apply for mental health counseling stipends. APPLY HERE for a mental health counseling stipend.

Alabama Lifespan Respite is currently working to build a statewide list of available, licensed mental health providers who are familiar with caregiver and disability-related mental health issues as part of this initiative. Caregivers may choose a provider from this list or choose any licensed mental health provider in Alabama (in-person or via tele-practice) who accepts direct pay. Alabama Lifespan Respite will pay the provider directly up to the awarded stipend amount.

Caregivers will be asked to complete anonymous pre/post counseling surveys to help Alabama Lifespan Respite determine the effectiveness of the program.

Emergency Respite is specifically for caregivers who are experiencing an emergent situation and need immediate respite assistance to provide care for their loved one while they personally undergo and recover from an illness/accident, surgery and/or rehabilitation, have experienced a death in the immediate family, or are experiencing a mental health crisis related to caregiver stress and burnout. Emergency Respite gives caregivers peace of mind while attending to their own physical, emotional, and mental health needs. Caregivers experiencing an emergency situation may apply for Emergency Respite reimbursement by emailing al.respite@ucphuntsville.org or by phone at 256-859-8300.

Qualified caregivers who apply for Emergency Respite and/or mental health counseling are eligible to receive reimbursement/stipend awards once annually (January-December).

The intended impact of the CWI is a decrease in caregiver stress, anxiety, fatigue, and burnout after receiving Emergency Respite and/or mental health counseling, resulting in an increase of overall caregiver wellness (physical, mental, and emotional). An increase in overall caregiver wellness can help to reduce the possibility of abuse and neglect as the result of caregiver burnout, as well as help prevent premature out-of-home placement of the care recipient.

For more information about CWI, Emergency Respite, Care Chats (one-on-one support hours available by phone or video conferencing) with ALR social worker staff, B.R.E.A.K. support groups, and caregiver mental health education opportunities, contact ALR Program Manager Brittany Huey at bhuey@ucphuntsville.org or 256-859-8300.

Alabama Lifespan Respite’s CWI is grant-funded by the Administration on Community Living/Administration on Aging Federal Lifespan Respite and The Daniel Foundation of Alabama with grant oversight by the Alabama Department of Senior Services.