Give a caregiver a ‘care-free’ break: One Source-Empowering Caregivers seeking more volunteers | TheUnion.com

Give a caregiver a ‘care-free’ break: One Source-Empowering Caregivers seeking more volunteers

Tom Durkin
Special to The Union

"Imagine being a caregiver for a loved one who needs your help 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Donna Raibley, executive director of One Source-Empowering Caregivers.

"And imagine that chances are statistically high that you might die of a stress-related disorder before your loved one," she continued. "Now imagine that you could make a huge difference in the quality of life for a 24/7 caregiver — and the care recipient — for just two to four hours a week."

For the last two years, One Source-Empowering Caregivers has been doing just that. The nonprofit organization has vetted, trained and matched almost 50 Volunteer Care Specialists with full-time, in-home caregivers.

But, "We have a waiting list right now of 16 caregivers who are requesting our free respite service," Raibley said. "We need 20 more compassionate, trustworthy, reliable men and women who have the heart to give caregivers a hand. Our next Volunteer Care Specialists training starts Oct. 27, but the time to sign up is now."

Each volunteer will go through a thorough screening process with a background history check, LiveScan fingerprinting, reference checks and then attend One Source-Empowering Caregivers' 22-hour comprehensive, CPR-certified Volunteer Care Specialist Training, Raibley explained.

The training is free. Continental breakfast, lunch and snacks are provided during the three Saturday classes.

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Once screened and trained, One Source-Empowering Caregivers' Volunteer Care Specialists are matched with compatible caregivers and care recipients.

The One Source-Empowering Caregivers Assessment Care Team visits each caregiver/care recipient home to determine their needs and suitability. Just as they verify the integrity of the Volunteer Care Specialists, the assessment team makes sure the specialists are being sent into a safe environment, Raibley stated.

"Volunteer Care Specialists provide non-medical, compassionate companionship care to care recipients so their caregivers can take a much needed break — go shopping, meet with their friends, get rest, exercise, see a movie or even volunteer for their favorite charity," she said with a smile.

Why people volunteer

There are many reasons why people volunteer to become care specialists.

"I volunteered because I enjoyed taking care of my mom in her final years, and when I read about OSEC, I was intrigued with the idea of providing respite care to people who I know need it. That 24/7 is just so draining — and they don't even know it half the time," said Janet Elliot

Karle deProsse became a Volunteer Care Specialist because her father would have needed one. He was taking care of her mother, who had Alzheimer's — "and he burned out. He took his own life."

Yvon Dockter graduated from One Source-Empowering Caregivers' first training class because Raibley gave her respite when she was taking care of her husband Craig.

"It's sort of paying it forward to the community that helped me so much," she said.

The death of Craig Dockter in July 2013 was the genesis of One Source-Empowering Caregivers, Raibley revealed. Shortly before he died, Craig Dockter asked Raibley to promise to create caregiver respite service.

Three years later, Raibley launched One Source-Empowering Caregivers as an all-volunteer 501(c)3 nonprofit.

The training that starts Saturday, Oct. 27, and runs for the two following Saturdays will be the fifth training session the organization has staged, Raibley said.

The high cost of free respite

One Source-Empowering Caregivers is the only free, in-home respite service in Nevada County, Raibley emphasized, but providing that service is far from free.

"We don't get any government money," she said. "We depend entirely on community donors, whatever grants we can get — and our annual HeART and Wine Gala."

This year, the fundraising gala will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, in the Ponderosa Hall on the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

The event will feature a silent auction of almost 100 pieces of fine art contributed by local artists, according to Flo Fahrenheit who has been curating the art collection since February.

During the bidding session, Kelly Fleming on guitar will provide the ambience of a high-end art show.

A preview of the art for sale will came online Oct. 5 at http://www.empoweringcaregivers.org, Fahrenheit said.

Meanwhile, in the main room, the highly popular jazz dance band the Earles of Newtown will entertain the guests with a blend of Jazz Age classics and original tunes.

Opening for the Earles will be Purdon's Crossing, an eclectic four-piece group that features "fine music without the pretention."

Guests will also see the debut of "It Takes a Village," a documentary on One Source-Empowering Caregivers. The video will present multiple interviews with the "village" of volunteers and supporters who make it all possible.

Fleming is composing an original music theme for the documentary.

Of course, there will be plenty of food and drink, including beer and wine, Gil Mathew will be the master of ceremonies.

Advance tickets are $20 and are available at The Book Seller and Artworks Gallery in Grass Valley. Tickets at the gate will be $25.

To apply to be trained as a Volunteer Care Specialist or for more information about the gala, contact Donna Raibley at 530-802-6154 or 530-205-9514.

Tom Durkin is a freelance writer and photographer and media consultant to OSEC. Contact him at tdurkin@vfr.net.