Caregiving for a loved one can be a life-enriching experience. It can help you connect with an aging parent or family member in meaningful ways. However, it can also be exhausting as daily tasks increase. For people who work and have their own family, the added stress can feel unmanageable at times.
Getting to know the resources available to family caregivers is vital. While you might not need them today, knowing what is out there will give you peace of mind for the caregiving journey ahead.
Creating Your Caregiver Toolbox
- Agency on Aging: One call or visit to make early in your caregiving journey is to the local agency on aging. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging maintains a database of local offices. You can use your zip code to locate the one nearest to you. These aging services professionals are the local experts on everything from transportation to applying for Medicaid. Getting to know your local agency and their programs will be invaluable.
- National Council on Aging: This nonprofit organization has an entire section of their website devoted to caring for a senior. For Older Adults and Caregivers can help you connect with resources like the BenefitsCheckUp®. This online tool will walk you through a series of quick questions to determine if your aging family member qualifies for any programs or assistance.
- Medicare.gov: If you are responsible for helping a senior make informed medical choices, the Medicare website will be of interest. It can help you objectively evaluate health care providers based on state survey reports, learn more about prescription drug coverage, and review a list of Medigap insurance options.
- Disease-specific organizations: Don’t overlook the support available through organizations dedicated to various diseases and health concerns. Most have comprehensive online resources that make it easier than ever to find answers and support. Alzheimer’s Association, Parkinson’s Foundation, and the American Cancer Society are just a few.
- Online or in-person support groups: Having a group of peers who understand the highs and lows of caregiving can help you maintain balance and perspective. If your schedule doesn’t permit you to attend local meetings, connect with one online. The Family Caregiver Alliance’s Smart Patients Caregivers Community is a great way to engage with fellow caregivers from the privacy of your home at a time that works for you.
Respite Care Offers Support to Caregivers
One final suggestion is to explore local respite care services even if you don’t think you need them. This short-term care solution can serve as a backup emergency plan in case the family caregiver falls ill or needs a break.
Five Star Senior Living is one of the nation’s leading providers of respite. With over 270 communities across the country, you are certain to find a respite program near you. Call us today at (853) 457-8271 to learn more and schedule a tour!