Respite in Tennessee

Multi-photo grid image with Tennessee Respite Coalition logo on the top right. Top left is an older adult couple embracing. Bottom left is a older adult couple reading documents and bottom right is an older adult conversing with a caregiver.

The Tennessee Respite Coalition (TRC) is a nonprofit that serves family caregivers across the state of Tennessee. Whether you are taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or a child with special needs, our goal is to provide much needed respite. Respite is the ability to take a much-needed break from the stresses of caring for your loved one(s). This time of rest, even if only for a moment, in turn, protects your health and well-being, leaving you feeling refreshed and better able to meet the needs of your loved one(s) with special needs.

Since the COVID-19 restrictions have been in place, more people have had to live in isolation without contact, friendship, and connection.  Therefore, we have adapted and enhanced several of our services, which include two special programs for older adults.  Our Senior Companion Volunteer and Respite Voucher programs strive to assist by providing great opportunities for Caregivers to take a break.

The Senior Companion Program is a unique program that has a dual purpose.  It provides an opportunity for adults over the age of 55 a chance for a meaningful volunteer experience, while providing companionship and support to adults who are homebound in our community.  Our trained volunteers are matched with older adults who might need help with companionship, meal preparation, household management and other activities of daily living to maintain their independence and dignity.  Senior companions work with home health clients who are recovering from illness; offer a source of respite for family caregivers who often have no other support and they provide understanding and comfort to hospice patients.  Our senior companions really become the support system to those who are alone or isolated.  Another great feature about our senior companion program is there is no cost to the family. The satisfaction of feeling needed and appreciated is a better reward than any amount of money.  A special bond of trust and friendship is formed during the time companions spend taking care of clients who have no other support system.

Services provided are:

  • Maintaining a safe environment for a vulnerable or less agile person while caregiver is away.
  • Moral support to caregiver/care recipient through active listening.
  • Socialization with care recipient. (Virtually – if needed during pandemic)
  • Engagement in recreational activities with care recipient as needed and wanted.
  • Encouraging and assisting the care recipient to maintain and develop independent living skills when appropriate.
  • Music and Memory personalized playlists/iPods and speakers for a meaningful experience.
  • Recording “Story of your Lifetime” questionnaire books – can be done virtually over the phone.
  • Amazon Tablets for clients to access movies/shows/songs/Audio books/apps and games – as well as to connect with our volunteers virtually.

Another great resource for caregivers of older adults, or any person with special needs, is our Respite Voucher Program which provides reimbursement for caregivers. Caregivers can hire anyone outside of the home to help with their loved ones in effort to relieve the caregiver. This plan includes hiring individuals as well utilizing facilities. Caregivers pay for respite services in advance and the TRC will reimburse those funds up to $600 per fiscal year.

For more information on the Respite Voucher Program, please contact Jack Read at respite.tnrespite.org.

For more information on our Senior Companion Volunteer Program or any of our services, please contact Mandy Hansen at Mandy.Hansen@tnrespite.org or call 615.269.8687.