Senior caregiving is time consuming, resource intensive, and something 34.2 million people in the United States are trying to balance with everything else going on in their lives. Being the primary caregiver for an aging loved one is hard work, and a lot of caregivers are struggling with the burden without knowing where to turn for help.
Luckily, you do have options. We’ve compiled a list of 30 resources for caregivers that can help ease your burden and provide helpful information on how to handle caregiving more effectively.
Organizations that Help Caregivers
Several organizations are devoted to providing resources, aid, and advocating for seniors and caregivers.
The Administration on Aging is a government organization specifically devoted to providing programs and services to help aging seniors continue living independently. While the organization is primarily focused on the well being of seniors, it includes an Office of Supporter and Caregiver Services that helps provide funding to families for resources to help with caregiving.
The Family Caregiver Alliance is a nonprofit organization that provides services and education programs, as well as doing advocacy work to help encourage government policy that’s helpful to caregivers.
The Caregiver Action Network provides educational resources for caregivers and a forum to connect family caregivers with others dealing with similar issues.
The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving provides support programs and training resources for caregivers, as well as advocacy to encourage greater institutional help for caregivers.
Sometimes caregivers just need a break. The National Respite Network helps caregivers find respite services that temporarily take over some of the caregiving tasks so family caregivers can take a well-needed break.
If you are looking to become a caregiver anywhere in the United States, look no further than caregivers.com. They help get families and caregivers in touch quickly and easily and will ensure the family gets the best caregiver they can while matching the caregiver’s skill set to the right family.
Resources to Find Caregiving Support
A lot of caregivers find they need support in various forms, but don’t know where to start looking. These resources can help with some of the support you need.
Navigating the system of benefits available to seniors is tough, and many seniors leave potential aid or money on the table because they don’t know it’s out there for them. The Benefits Checkup site makes it easier to quickly see what benefits are available in your area that you or your loved one are likely to qualify for.
The support resources available to caregivers vary based on your geographic location. The Family Care Navigator helps you hone in on what programs and organizations are specifically available to you in your state.
The National Volunteer Caregiving Network helps connect volunteers that want to help others in their communities with the seniors or people with disabilities that need that help. Volunteers help with things like transportation, errands, and home repairs.
Lotsa Helping Hands is another website that helps connect volunteers with caregivers in their area that need some extra help. Caregivers can put the help they need on the website’s calendar and available volunteers step in to provide help with tasks like meal delivery or rides to appointments.
The Eldercare Locator is a resource provided by the Administration on Aging to help seniors and caregivers find trusted professionals to help with the various services seniors commonly need, like home modifications and legal assistance.
Many senior caregivers are spouses taking care of their partner. The Well Spouse Association helps senior caregivers in this position tap into a larger community of other caregivers taking care of a spouse.
Most communities have a number of support groups that caregivers can attend to find others struggling with similar challenges. Often, these support groups are specific to the particular issue your loved one is dealing with, such as cancer or Alzheimer’s support groups. These groups can be an invaluable resource for finding other people who understand what you’re going through and having a healthy outlet for your feelings.
Senior Care Options to Lighten the Load
Often what caregivers need most is somebody else to take on some of the work they’re trying to manage. These resources can help with that.
Adult day care lets you drop off your senior loved one for the day while you work or run errands and trust that they’ll be in the care of trained staff. Senior day care also gives seniors a chance to socialize and stay busy in a new environment for the day, which many seniors start to need more as they age.
In-home care professionals come to your home for a set number of hours to help out with the care your loved one needs. You can hire in-home care workers to provide basic around-the-house help, or home health care workers to provide health care to your loved one.
While many families hesitate to take the step of moving a senior loved one to assisted living, sometimes it really is the best choice for everyone. Assisted living facilities have staff available all hours of day to help with the ADLs seniors often need assistance with.
If you don’t want to take a step that feels as permanent as assisted living, but you know you need a break, respite care can take the caregiving duties off your hands for a temporary period.
A big part of taking care of someone is making sure that they get enough meals each day to stay healthy. For overwhelmed caregivers, that’s not a small task. Meals on Wheels can help fill in with that part of your job in order to take one more thing off your plate.
Once your loved one can no longer safely drive, getting them out to appointments and social events becomes another difficulty to manage. ITN helps seniors access affordable transportation options that provide the level of help seniors often need.
Educational Resources to Learn More About Caregiving Issues
People and organizations that can help are undeniably valuable, but sometimes getting the right knowledge at the right time is just as important.
LongTermCare.gov is a government website full of educational resources to help people plan for long-term care and understand the options and benefits available to them.
Veterans have even more potential benefits to tap into than most other seniors. If your loved one is a veteran or the spouse of one, this website can help you understand the benefits available to them.
A growing number of people provide care for Alzheimer’s patients, who require a distinct set of skills and knowledge to properly care for. The NIH provides educational materials to help caregivers learn what to do and expect.
The Alzheimer’s Association is one of the leading authorities on the disease. Their website provides a wealth of information on caring for Alzheimer’s patients based on up-to-date research on the subject.
Heart disease is another common illness seniors face. The American Heart Association provides some educational tips for caregivers helping a loved one with heart disease.
The American Cancer Society likewise provides resources to loved ones of cancer patients to help provide the main information they need to take care of someone suffering from cancer.
The National Parkinson Foundation provides a number of resources to caregivers of seniors who have Parkinson’s. They also offer a helpline for caregivers that have questions.
The Caregiver’s Home Companion is a website that includes forums to connect caregivers to one another, and resources that cover many different aspects of caregiving, from the spiritual to the practical.
Next Step in Care provides guides for caregivers that help them figure out how to work with health care providers to figure out the next step for their loved one when facing complicated decisions and transition periods.
In addition to the many resources they provide for seniors, AARP also provides planning guides and other educational resources for the caregivers that help care for seniors.
For those that prefer to learn by video rather than reading, Video Caregiving provides a number of films to help caregivers learn the skills they need.
mmLearn provides both videos and blog posts that cover an array of topics helpful to senior caregivers.
Senior caregiving is often difficult on a number of different levels, but any little bit of help you can get will make your caregiving work more sustainable and effective. Figure out which resources to help caregivers best fit your needs and take advantage of them. You’ll be a better caregiver if you’re less overwhelmed and getting the help you need.
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