Nestled around a seemingly ordinary house at 183 Shafer Road in Moon Township are an array of nature-centric sensory treats. There are seven delightful gardens, a peaceful trail through the woods, bee houses, water features, and of course, the squirrels, birds, and other creatures that enjoy the welcoming environment.
It’s not just any ordinary house or property.
It is the home of Hope Grows, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire hope through nature while empowering caregivers to seek wellness of mind, body, and spirit.
It is also an oasis for caregivers. A place where they can find emotional and mental health support and respite in Hope Grows garden walks and other programs in person or virtually.
Soon it will provide a new level of support for the caregiver community. In 2022, it will become the “Iris Respite House” – a bed and breakfast that offers a uniquely therapeutic and inspiring overnight break specifically for caregivers.
Why is There a Need for Caregiver Support and Respite?
Unlike professional caretakers, caregivers (aka family caregivers) are typically not trained or paid to provide care to their dependent loved ones. All too often, as they try to balance caregiving with work, parenting, and other life responsibilities, their personal needs, and self-care fall to the wayside.
Although the caregiving journey has its joys, it often results in chronic stress, compromising caregivers’ physical and mental health; and can present career and financial hardship.
What Does Nature Have to do with Caregiver Support?
Hope Grows incorporates nature therapy and connection to the natural world as key elements of its programming, not only because of nature’s relaxing and restorative value, but also for its representation and illustration of life’s beauty, challenges, and cycles – all very relatable to caregiving.
The nature available at Hope Grows provides opportunities to experience inner peace and gratitude, gain or reestablish perspective, and regain balance and a sense of well-being. It can also spark curiosity, adventure, and creativity as it awakens the senses. It also offers a constant reminder of resilience.
These are all things that can easily get lost as caregivers spend much of their time and energy on day-to-day caregiving duties.
How Exactly does Hope Grows and its Nature-Centered Programs Help Caregivers?
Through three core areas of service – counseling and support, therapeutic respite, and education – Hope Grows helps caregivers direct some of their focus on self-care. This promotes health and well-being and helps prevent burnout and other negative physical or mental health manifestations that can arise from unchecked caregiver stress.
Specific services include: individual counseling, support groups, monthly check-in phone calls, weekly caregiver tips, short breaks, healing and restorative gardens, day of rest and relaxation, free turkey meals at Thanksgiving, and coming soon – caregiver overnight breaks at the Iris Respite House.
Hope Grows programs and services are available at little to no cost to caregivers.
The need for caregiver support is growing. Typically, Hope Grows serves 300-400 caregivers in a year. In 2021, Hope Grows provided support to 999 caregivers, 1219 hours on counseling support, 2300 hours of therapeutic respite, 673 hours of education/training and 230 turkey meals.
If you or someone you know is a caregiver in need of support, you are not alone. Hope Grows is here for you. Visit HopeGrows.net or call 412.369.4673. The 2021 Hope Grows video shares valuable information about our model of support and mission. https://hopegrows.org/photos-and-videos/hope-grows-2021-official-video
If you are interested in supporting the valuable work of Hope Grows or sponsoring the renovations needed to open the Iris Respite House doors in 2022, visit HopeGrows.net or call 412.369.4673.
“They provide the soil and the fertilizer and the watering for you to grow and help the people you are taking care of.” ~ Dana
“I look at the sky in its different shades of blue, see flowers starting to peek out, and know that there is hope.” ~ Susan