Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

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Giving Thanks for Caregivers

With the Thanksgiving Holiday upon us, we are all thinking about the things we are thankful for in our lives. As advocates in the disability community, we know that caregivers are at the top of that list for many.

What is a caregiver?

A caregiver is a person who gives care to another, generally in the home environment, for an aging parent, spouse, other relative, or unrelated person, or for an ill, or disabled person. These tasks may include transportation, grocery shopping, housework, preparing meals, toileting assistance, personal grooming, and sometimes just providing companionship. There are family caregivers and professional caregivers – some are paid and some are volunteers. This can be a very rewarding experience, but it is often a demanding, sometimes overwhelming, job.

Caregivers are crucial members of our communities, tending to the needs or concerns of the most vulnerable members of our society. They’re some of the hardest working, most compassionate, fearless individuals, each deserving of celebration each and every day.

Each year, in November, we take time to recognize and give praise and support to caregivers. We also recognize that Respite Care is vital to the wellbeing of caregivers and care recipients alike – so during this month we also share information about Respite Care.

National Family Caregiver’s Month

The Caregiver Action Network leads the National Family Caregiver’s Month campaign.

This year’s theme is #CaregiversConnect.

Caregivers are crucial members of our communities, tending to the needs or concerns of loved ones with an illness, injury or disability. They’re some of the hardest working, most compassionate, fearless individuals, each deserving of celebration each and every day.

The month-long celebration also presents an opportunity to:

  • Raise awareness of family caregiver issues
  • Celebrate the efforts of family caregivers
  • Educate family caregivers about self-identification
  • Increase support for family caregivers
  • Reduce feelings of isolation

Reach out to a caregiver you know, today, and let them know just how much you appreciate them. You can click here to learn more about #NationalFamilyCaregiversMonth and discover ways to give back to caregivers across the nation.

What is the Caregiver Action Network?

Caregiver Action Network (CAN) is the nation’s leading family caregiver organization working to improve the quality of life for the more than 90 million Americans who care for loved ones with chronic conditions, disabilities, disease, or the frailties of old age. CAN is a program of the National Family Caregivers Association, a non-profit organization providing education, peer support, and resources to family caregivers across the country, free of charge.

National recognition of family caregivers came to the public eye because of the Caregiver Action Network in 1994. Not long after, President Clinton signed the first National Family Caregiver Month proclamation in 1997 and since, November has been devoted to honoring family caregivers. The theme is chosen by CAN each year, and throughout the month of November, there are events and awareness campaigns surrounding caregivers and the work they do. This month honors the family caregivers, who are unpaid and give their time, energy, and hearts to their care recipients.

Respite Care

What is respite?

Respite (RESS’-pit): Respite is temporary or short break for caregivers through planned or emergency services that provide a caregiver of a child or adult with a special need some time away from caregiver responsibilities for that child or adult, and which result in some measurable improvement in the well-being of the caregiver, care receiver, and/or family system.

Everyone needs a break sometimes – with education, support and respite, the lives of caregivers and those who receive care are improved greatly.

  • Caregivers need respite!
  • Families need respite!
  • Professionals need respite!
  • Those who are receiving care need respite!

The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities Arkansas is a proud member of the Arkansas Lifespan Respite Coalition (ALRC).

The purpose of the Arkansas Lifespan Respite Coalition (ALRC) is not to act in the role of a direct service provider, but to build a statewide system to identify and coordinate respite care options for families regardless or age, special need, or other characteristics of the person needing care. The Division of Provider Services and Quality Assurance within the Arkansas Department of Human Services serves as the central point of contact for the Arkansas Lifespan Respite Project across the state. Find out more about ALRC here.

The Arkansas Lifespan Respite Coalition’s goal is to improve the awareness and access of respite information and services available to families across age and disability spectrums by expanding and coordinating existing respite systems in Arkansas. The coalition partners with the Department of Human Services-Arkansas “Take the Time” Lifespan Respite program. To learn more about the program, download the Arkansas Lifespan Respite Brochure.

Respite Search Locator (Registry)

You can use the registry to find respite care providers. If you are a caregiver or a service organization you can request to be added to the registry. Click the link below to go to the registry.

If you have additional questions about the Arkansas Lifespan Respite Search Locator, please contact the Choices in Living Resource Center at 1-866-801-3435 or by email at

More respite care providers are needed. You can learn how to provide respite care for others!

Free Online Respite Care Provider Training

Visit this Department of Human Services webpage to register and access free training courses. The DHS Division of Provider Services and Quality Assurance (DPSQA), in partnership with the Arkansas Lifespan Respite Coalition, created customized training modules specific to Arkansas law, regulations and programs.

The certification course contains one introductory course and ten respite specific skill courses. Courses are self-paced and free of charge. Interested individuals will create a login ID and password to the training system to gain access. Upon completion of the training, trainees will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the availability to place themselves and the respite services they choose to provide on the Arkansas Lifespan Respite Search Locator for caregivers searching and seeking available respite opportunities.

About the Arkansas Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities

The Council is a federally funded state agency that promotes integration, inclusion and independence for Arkansans with developmental disabilities. Council members are self-advocates, relatives and/or caregivers of individuals with DD, state agency directors, and representation from nonprofit and private organizations. The Council works to encourage self-advocacy; to remove barriers to information, services and support; to advocate for policy changes; to develop and support coalitions; and to educate community leaders. For more information about the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities and its mission, browse more pages on this website, or call 501-682-2897. Follow the Council on Facebook and Twitter @gcddar. You can also find Arkansas GCDD on YouTube.