Free RappRespite service takes on caregiver burnout

What started out as a glimmering hope for the county by Hal Hunter and a desire by Denise Chandler “to pay it forward” has now taken root as a community volunteer effort called RappRespite.

A few of RappRespite's members: Jed Duvall, Judy DeSarno, Hal Hunter, Madeline Prince, Fawn Evenson, Kees Dutilh, Denise Chandler, Ellie Clark, Brenda Lavato, Sandra Cartwright-Brown.By E. Raymond Boc
A few of RappRespite’s members: Jed Duvall, Judy DeSarno, Hal Hunter, Madeline Prince, Fawn Evenson, Kees Dutilh, Denise Chandler, Ellie Clark, Brenda Lavato, Sandra Cartwright-Brown.

This free and confidential service will allow anyone in the county who acts as a primary caregiver for a loved one who needs continuous care or monitoring to ask for a break from their duties and to have an adult sitter stay in their home while they do whatever they wish to do … go shopping, take a walk, hike or fish, go to sleep, visit with friends, play cards or anything else that gives them time off.

The group of 18 volunteers began meeting at the library and spent time discussing the best way to attack a very real and growing need in Rappahannock County: caregiver burnout.

Primary caregivers usually are family members, who can be stressed and exhausted from trying to deal with work, home responsibilities and the disabled person. A RappRespite volunteer provides the caregiver with some time away from their constant duties.

Whether the loved one has a disease or is incapacitated by injury or hospitalization, the caregiver must have a chance to refuel. It is a known fact that 43 percent of caregivers pass away before the people they are caring for, mainly because the caregiver is highly overstressed and does not look after their own needs.

RappRespite’s volunteers are not caregivers, housekeepers, doctors, or nurses. Just Rappahannock neighbors helping neighbors for a few hours a stay, like adult baby-sitters.

So if you or anyone you know needs respite time off, please give RappRespite’s confidential line a call: 540-937-9951. The coordinator would be happy to discuss the simple process and match your needs with one of RappRespite’s friendly volunteers. It’s free and yours for the asking.

Remember, you deserve a break today… and next week too!

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