With summer now upon us, there never seems to be enough hours in the day, particularly when you are caring for a loved one.

This is especially true if the loved one you are caring for has dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. We all need a little extra help sometimes.

The Alzheimer’s Association has recognized the need for family members who are caring for a loved one to take a break to reduce caregiver stress.

The Association here in South Carolina partners with the area Office on Aging to provide respite grants to family members that need a break.

Sometimes just taking a few hours to yourself every once in a while gives you the break you need to reduce stress and enable you to better care for your loved one. It is normal to need this break, and family members should not feel guilty taking advantage of the opportunity.

The Respite Grant Program is set up for short-term respite (taking a break) for family caregivers through a voucher program. This program is funded through the S.C. Department of Mental Health and administered through the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging.

The South Carolina General Assembly recently acknowledged the increasing need for families to take a break from caregiving and voted to increase funding for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Respite Program from $778,706 to $900,000 through the Department of Mental Health.

Their fiscal year starts July 1, so now is a good time to apply for the respite grant.

If you are a family caregiver for someone with dementia, call the area Office on Aging at 843-726-5536 to learn how to get your application process started. Once you receive a voucher you can employ a home care company that can send a trained and qualified caregiver to give you a break.

The Alzheimer’s Association also offers assistance to help family caregivers who want to attend an Association program or event. This “Sitter Service Program” gives caregivers a chance to attend a monthly support group meeting, an educational program or other events, such as the Walk to End Alzheimer’s (which will be held Oct. 29 in Bluffton.)

This program is in addition to the respite voucher program and provides funds to hire a caregiver from a home care company. This program also can be accessed by calling 843-726-5536 at least two weeks in advance of the program, support group or event that you wish to attend.

James Wogsland, Certified Senior Advisor, is the owner of ComForCare Home Care. JWogsland@ComForCare.com