Home will assist caregivers

A new home designed to provide support for caregivers of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities is expected to be fully operational by late summer.

The Blair County Chamber of Commerce will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon July 30 for Skills of Central Pennsylvania’s Respite Home at 4000 Beale Ave., Altoona.

The respite home was newly constructed specifically for Skills and incorporates many design features to best support people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For example, there are seamless flooring transitions throughout the home, so people who use wheelchairs can easily navigate. In addition, contrasting wall and floor tiles were carefully chosen and installed so that people with depth perception and other vision challenges can move throughout the home easily and safely, said Skills spokesman Michael Gardner.

The home will support people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities if their primary caregiver needs to travel, seek medical care, take care of personal tasks or simply relax and rejuvenate. The Respite Home will offer short-term relief for those who provide support for, or offer Lifesharing for, people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, Gardner said.

Gardner said there is a great need for respite services in Blair County and surrounding areas.

“There has been a shortage of resources, until now. The Skills Respite Home will provide support that is vitally needed by central Pennsylvania caregivers of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Gardner said. “It’s critical that caregivers also care for themselves.”

Skills’ Respite Home will accommodate up to four people at any given time. While this may sound like a relatively small number, many people have complex medical, social and behavioral needs that require specialized support, Gardner said.

Respite care is typically paid for through Pennsylvania’s Office of Developmental Programs for up to 30 calendar days per year, Gardner added.

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