Arc expands upon home care services

Families that attend to a physically or mentally challenged loved one will now have more options when it comes to their care after the United Way and the Arc partnered together to expand services in St. Charles Parish.

Previously, the Arc offered respite care, which is designed to provide relief to caregivers by sending someone to the home so that the caregiver could attend appointments, engage in recreational activities, run errands or simply rest.

Now, the addition of custodial care will allow the expansion of those services.

Custodial care offers assistance to a person in performing the basic daily necessities of life, such as dressing, eating, using the bathroom, walking, bathing and getting in and out of bed.

“Custodial care just expands upon the respite care service by offering help even if the caregiver doesn’t have to leave the home,” John Dias, the executive director of the United Way of St. Charles Parish, said. “My father has Parkinson’s disease and my mother is having to take care of him right now. Frankly, I’m very sensitive to services like this.”

Dias says this additional service can help families avoid having to send a loved one to a specialized facility.

“It allows family members to get assistance and it ultimately allows people with disabilities to stay in their homes,” Dias said. “Not that there is anything wrong with a managed care facility, but everyone would love to remain in their own homes.”

Both services are sponsored through a United Way grant. Dias says that this allows his agency to offer some much-needed help in the community.

“At United Way, we have a goal of assisting the community in health, education and financial responsibility,” he said. “This program allows us to help the community both health wise and financially by giving caregivers some help and allowing them to save money by having their loved ones treated in their own homes.”

Arc Executive Director Victoria Bryant says that each family would receive three to five hours of care per week, but  the Arc would like to offer more hours as the need arises.

“There are many families in need of the services, moreover, many caregivers caring for elderly loved ones,” she said. “Adults with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities have expressed the greatest need for services.”

The new respite and custodial care service began in October and will last until June 2009.

Individuals over 60 years, an adult with a disability, a parent of a child with a disability and caregivers of either someone with a disability or the elderly, are eligible to apply.

Services will be rendered on a first come, first serve basis.

To apply, contact the Arc of St. Charles at (985) 785-0971.


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