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Respite care funding for families extended

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Wesway, a Thunder Bay-based company that helps families gain access to respite care, has received funding to stay in Rainy River District.

Previously just a pilot project, the company will be providing respite funding for seniors, as well as offering support and assistance in finding suitable respite care, thanks to support and base funding from the North West Local Health Integration Network and the provincial government’s Aging at Home Strategy.

The strategy aims to keep seniors in their homes if they are able to be there and want to be there, with Wesway noting that often it is because of respite that seniors are able to do so.

Family members who care full-time for seniors who have chronic health conditions, disabilities, or dementia can apply for short-term care to be provided for their family member while they take time to renew their energy on a well-deserved break so they can go back to caring for their elderly family member.

Wesway stressed it understands the difficulties in these delicate situations, and that the company strives to be flexible and understanding in every situation.

They ensure caregivers know that it is okay to ask for help—and share the responsibilities with others sometimes.

Sometimes the caregiver needs time to recharge so they can go back to providing care because looking after someone who needs full-time assistance can be exhausting after a while.

Respite not only benefits the caregiver, but also the senior as it often gives them an opportunity to meet new people and try new things.

It can occur in many different situations, depending on the need. Sometimes the care takes place in the home while other times it may be out in the community.

Respite also can take place overnight, on different days of the week, during emergencies, and for various lengths of time—whatever works best for the family and meets everyone’s needs.

Since Wesway provides the funding, families have the flexibility to choose how they want to receive their respite.

If a family already has a respite worker, they can apply for funding to subsidize that care.

Or if a family is looking for a respite service provider, they can be matched with someone who has been recruited and screened by the company and then receive funding for the worker.

Working with the family, Wesway then sets up a detailed contract on how the arrangement is going to work.

In addition to being dependent on a family member for care, to be eligible for funding seniors must live with their family caregiver and live in an accessible area of the district.

Those interested in contacting Wesway can call their toll-free number at 1-888-623-2353.

Wesway hopes to secure more funding in the next few years so it can expand its services here, and help families acquire respite for situations that involve children or adults.

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