Steamboat Springs People who give care to the elderly in their homes are now eligible for a well-deserved break.
Anyone who provides care to people 60 and older in Northwest Colorado can receive financial assistance to offset the costs of supervision and care.
Up to $500 will be handed out to as many people as possible, said Nancy McStay, a registered nurse who is coordinating the program.
"We have quite a bit of money that we can give away," she said. "We do want to spend this money for anybody who needs these kinds of services."
The Caregiver Support Program has been in effect since the first of the year, but word has only recently begun to spread.
McStay hopes increased awareness of the program prompts more people to apply for the funding.
People who receive care must reside in Routt, Garfield, Moffat or Rio Blanco counties and require that care in order to live in their own home.
Although priority will be given to clients whose condition requires monitoring 24 hours a day, clients who need checkups throughout the day and do not require a live-in caregiver will also be considered.
The money will benefit clients, but the primary goal of the program is to help out the people who voluntarily assist older residents who choose to stay in their homes.
"We've just found a lot of people who are helping their loved ones," McStay said. "We want to give them a break."
The maximum amount of $500 cannot exceed $100 within a 24-hour period.
The money can be used to hire substitute caregivers to provide periods of rest for primary caregivers, whether they be family members, friends or agency personnel.
Caregivers might also consider putting the money toward classes, workshops or support groups that might introduce them to new or more effective ways of giving care.
If clients are not receiving Medicaid benefits, funding could be used to hire a case manager to identify resources that might help finance the cost of in-home care.
A final option includes the purchase of equipment, such as lift chairs, tub benches or handheld showers, to enhance caregivers' ability to care for loved ones.
"This is anything that will make the caregiver's live easier," McStay said.
Applications can be obtained by calling Northwest Colorado Options for Long Term Care toll free at (877) 963-8731.