Mass Lifespan Respite Coalition

Today I attended my first meeting of the Mass Lifespan Respite Coalition. The on-site group of 15 and phone participants included family caregivers and representatives from state, non-profit, and private organizations. The group was originally formed as a result of the federal lifespan respite act (2006), federal funding (2009), that reached the state of Massachusetts in 2010 as a 3-year grant to begin research and organizing to address the growing need for respite across the lifespan.

Some of today’s meeting topics included:
A website is being developed that will offer Massachusetts-based families the ability to find a respite worker as well as funding for respite. In addition, resources to be a change agent (i.e. help effect state and federal legislation) will be available. This wonderful resource will be available in a few months.

The state-wide CARE Conference, held November 2 in Marlboro, was a big success and will be offered again next year, and will continue to focus on serving the needs of family caregivers.

An Awareness Campaign project will focus on raising awareness about the need for respite across the lifespan, and what people can do now. The many benefits family carers can realize when identifying with a larger group include: emotional support, validation of the value of the caregiving job, connection with helpful resources, identification with a higher purpose, and sense of empowerment and hope.

Membership is free to join the coalition. If you are interested in joining, please read the content below and find contact information for Mike Oliver or Amy Nazaire. (content by Mike Oliver originally posted on the website Federation for Children with Special Needs).

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
~ Mary

Massachusetts Lifespan Respite Coalition Update (Newsline Vol 31, Number 3)

By Mike Oliver, Coalition Organizer

In September 2010, Massachusetts received a three-year grant from the federal Health and Human Services Administration on Aging to:

Further develop a statewide respite coalition consisting of family caregivers, respite providers, and members of the aging, disability, and health services network.

Improve statewide dissemination and coordination of respite care by developing a comprehensive, accessible directory of services.

Enhance and expand the availability of Lifespan Respite Services in Massachusetts by improving training and recruitment of providers, and developing a strategic plan and List of Policy Recommendations.
By the end of the three years, the coalition will produce:

1) A three-year plan for the development of a Lifespan Respite Services Program;

2) A written assessment of respite services in Massachusetts;

3) A web- and print-based directory of respite services in Massachusetts;

4) A dedicated Web site;

5) A set of quality and safety guidelines for respite providers;

6) A toolkit for replication of a statewide respite program, including a cost analysis;

7) A training curriculum for workers and volunteers; and

8) A list of policy recommendations

The Board of Directors is the governing body of the coalition. It sets the coalition�s direction, establishes committees as needed, helps recruit coalition members, and develops annual goals.

The committee members will be responsible for the main work of the coalition. The Grant Advisory committee consisting of representatives from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, the Department of Developmental Services, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, MassHealth, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Aging and Disability Resource Centers, and the original respite coalition will monitor the grant activities, ensuring the goals and objectives are being met.

There are five subcommittees: needs assessment, training curriculum, resource development, public information/outreach, and sustainability. These subcommittees will carry out the grant’s objectives. A part time coordinator will staff the coalition and committees.


To join the coalition, one of the committees or subcommittees, or for more information, contact Mike Oliver at or Amy Nazaire, Director of Family Support and Children’s Services for the Northeast Region of DDS at 978-774-5000 ext. 386 or via e-mail at

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