May 28, 2020

Government Announces $1.125 Million in Funding for Caregivers

The Government of Saskatchewan has announced additional respite funding for caregivers of people with intellectual disabilities during the pandemic.

This funding provides $100 per month from June to September 2020 to pay for respite or respite activities.  This benefit will help fill the gap that the closure of day programs, as well as the shortage of part-time work and volunteer opportunities, has created.

Many respite options, including summer camps, have been closed during the pandemic to ensure the health and safety of staff and clients.  This funding allows caregivers to access broader respite options that work in a person-centred or family-focused way during the current situation in Saskatchewan.

“Caregivers are doing tremendous work providing care and support to people with intellectual disabilities during this pandemic – often 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Social Services Minister Paul Merriman said.  “With increased pressures during this time, they need a break to be able to maintain their supports.  This benefit will help with that during the next four months.”

Approximately 2,800 caregivers will be eligible for these pandemic respite payments, including families caring for adult Community Living Service Delivery clients in their homes; families receiving the Family Respite Benefit for children under the age of 18 with an intellectual disability; and Approved Private Service Home (APSH) proprietors, including Mental Health Approved Home proprietors.

“Respite is essential for the health and well-being of parents and caregivers of a child or young adult with special needs,” Hope’s Home Regina CEO Jacqueline Tisher said.  “It gives them the break they need to rejuvenate and continue 24-hour care, especially during these challenging times when there is a decrease in respite options, this support is so important.”

“The respite package would come as a positive impact for the home,” APSH proprietor in Maidstone and caregiver to four individuals with intellectual disabilities Susan Klein said.  “We could go out and spend more time to ourselves, but also enjoy time together as a household and not always have to worry about the little things.”

“For some parents this is a stressful time, so every little bit helps,” father of Kyle Dave Thickett said.  Since the closure of the day program in Meadow Lake, Kyle has spent his time at home.

“Thank you for being aware of what we are doing,” APSH proprietor from Saskatoon Lejam Petros said.  “Regardless of how big or small the money is, it gives us the feeling that we are appreciated for the work that we do.”

The benefit supports the Saskatchewan Disability Strategy recommendation nine, Valuing Families, by helping families get time away from their caregiving role.