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. Caregivers often put their loved one first, forgetting to take care of themselves, risking burnout.
The Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) developed a program called “Neighbours Helping Neighbours” (NHN) as a way to encourage individuals to volunteer to give primary caregivers a break at no cost to the care recipient. VON recognized that with the cutbacks to funding and services at all levels of government, the responsibility for caregiving would be on family members, friends, and neighbours. It was obvious that primary caregivers often suffer from burnout and need a temporary break.
VON created a one-day workshop to provide individuals with enough basic information so that they would feel comfortable volunteering to offer respite care in their community. The workshop covers topics such as the role of family in caregiving, boundaries and expectations of the respite and primary caregivers, elder abuse, and how to be a “good neighbour”.