Kristy: Hello, I’m Kristy with the Ottawa Public Library. A caregiver is someone, often a family member, who regularly looks after someone who is sick, disabled or elderly. While caring for a loved-one can be very rewarding, it also involves many stressors. We are with volunteers from Neighbors Helping Neighbors’ program which provides workshops about providing respite to caregivers. Hélène Valin: I was the primary caregiver for my mother who was at home. She was 97 years old. I did more and more caregiving over the past five years and realized how very stressful and how important it is to have some respite. My name is Hélène Valin and I’m one of the facilitators that provides the session Neighbors Helping Neighbors. As a caregiver, you know that you need respite to be able to function better but having people come in and stay with your family member, you want someone that knows what respite is. Shelagh Tuddenham: My name is Shelagh Tuddenham. I’m the coordinator and I also co-facilitate the workshops. The Neighbors Helping Neighbors program has two components: the first is a workshop and the second is a training session. The workshop actually provides basic information to individuals who are interested in volunteering as a respite caregiver in the community; who want to “sit” with a family-member, friend or neighbor in order to give a primary caregiver a temporary break. Darlene: My name is Darlene and I’m also a volunteer or a co-facilitator in giving the workshops. I learned about the workshops and I thought this was a great opportunity for me to go and learn what caregiving was because I was already giving some caregiving to my father who’s got dementia / Alzheimer’s. I wanted more ideas on how to help my dad when I’m there with him: how to entertain him, how to keep him busy. And then I also wanted other ideas on how to offer that respite care for my mother. Hélène Valin: The workshop is designed as a one-day event. We cover 9 topics, so we might talk about how to be a good neighbor, what are some of the small things that people can do to help a family, a friend or neighbor. We talk about elder abuse, the grieving process, the difference between normal and abnormal aging, communication from the perspective of a respite caregivers going into someone else’s home, even if it’s your own family’s home. We also talk a little bit about nutrition, safety (how to prevent falls, what to do if you fall) and the family. The family is very key. Shelagh: Doing this session in one day, in a one-day format provides participants a great idea of the various components that are required and it gives then a great idea of what is respite and what it is not. So, it takes away some people’s fear about providing respite for neighbors not knowing exactly what they should be doing and what they shouldn’t. Darlene: My mother is the primary caregiver, I’m the secondary caregivers. There is one aspect in the workshop that touches on burnout and what are some of the signs of burnout and so I was able to apply that with my mother because I was seeing signs of her burning out and so we were able to get out there and get more help for her. Kristy: What do you personally like best about the program? Darlene: Sharing our stories, connecting, knowing we are not alone and then also learning about what is available in the community. Hélène Valin: And it becomes almost second nature. So that when you know or hear about a friend or a neighbor that requires some help, you just automatically do it.