MDHS provides essential support for caregivers in Mississippi

Programs provide assistance and support to those caring for our aging and vulnerable population

November is National Caregiver Month, but caregivers of dependent persons receive assistance from the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) each month of the year.

Through the Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS), MDHS offers two primary programs to assist caregivers. A caregiver is defined as any individual, regardless of age, providing care for a person 60 years or older; or a grandparent or other relative caregiver, 60 years or older, caring for a child 18 years or younger.

“Caregiving programs continue to become a vital part of our Aging communities,” said Kenyada Blake, Director of the MDHS Division of Aging and Adult Services. “The major goals of the Lifespan Respite Program is to enhance community awareness and access to a wider options of respite systems in Mississippi”.

Under the Older American Act, MDHS offers the National Family Caregiver Support Program. This program provides temporary relief time for the regular or primary caregiver (spouse, child, and relative) of an ill, functionally impaired older individual or dementia patient that requires constant in-home care. 

The Mississippi Family Caregiver Support Program works in partnership with the 10 Area Agencies on Aging and local community service providers to provide five basic services for family caregivers, including:

  • Information to caregivers about available services.
  • Assistance to caregivers in gaining access to services.
  • Individual counseling, the organization of support groups, caregiver training to assist the caregivers in making decisions and solving problems relating to their caregiving roles.
  • Respite care to enable caregivers to be temporarily relieved from caregiving responsibilities.
  • Supplemental services, on a limited basis, to complement the care provided by caregivers.

DAAS also offers the Lifespan Respite Program, which provides respite care vouchers for family members providing unpaid care for a dependent person of any age with a significant disability, or chronic illness requiring care. 

The respite care voucher opportunity includes an initial voucher of $300, a repeat voucher of $300 after six months and an emergency respite voucher in the amount of $400. There is a limited number of vouchers for each level of care.

Vouchers can only be used to pay for breaks (respite) for caregivers. They may NOT be used to:

  • Pay the family caregiver directly for the care he/she is providing 
  • Pay for care that occurred before the voucher was issued 
  • Pay medical bills or purchase medical supplies 
  • Offset the cost of paid care already in place 

To learn more about the Family Caregiver Support Program and the Lifespan Respite Program, call the Mississippi Access to Care Center at 844-822-4622.