Do you wish someone would just come and rescue you? Are you wondering if help is available for you as a caregiver or your elders as they age? H.E.L.P. is really just a click (or call) away!
H.E.L.P. – I’ll use the acronym for ways to find assistance for you and for your elders. Many people ask me: How do I find elder services? Where can I get information on…? Are there support groups for caregivers?
Believe it or not, there are lots and lots of great support services for those with responsibility of care for their elder parents and relatives. I’ll touch on a few of those here – feel free to add your own ideas/findings/suggestions in the comments section too.
H – Holy Moly I’m Overwhelmed! I need to talk to others going through this!
- Visit Caregiver.org – the website for the Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA). You can join an online caregiver group. Find a range of support and services at the FCA CareJourney section of their website.
- AARP.org – do a search for “caregiver support”. There are a variety of choices that pop up, including an online discussion for caregivers.
- Caregiver Action Network at CaregiverAction.org has a wealth of tips, resources and support for caregivers. On the home page, scroll down to the Family Caregiver Forum for a place to share and get support as a family caregiver.
- Your local senior center may have family support groups that meet regularly to share stories. It helps to share the stress that comes with caregiving.
E – Elders have so many needs and I’m just one person. How to do I find services that can help me care for my aging relative?
- Go to CaregiverAction.org and click on Family Caregiver Toolbox. This has a wide selection of programs, suggestions and agencies that support many of the issues that face our elders and those of us caring for them. Each topic is a link to a group providing that service or support.
- If your elder has Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or other health issue, you can usually find lots of support at the association dedicated to that disease or diagnosis.
- Alz.org for Alzheimer’s Association
- Heart.org for the American Heart Association – click on Caregiver tab
- EasterSeals.com – click on What We Do, then Seniors
- PDF.org for Parkinson’s Disease
- Cancer.org for the Amercian Cancer Society – click on Treatment & Support, then scroll down to For Caregivers and Family
- The US Dept. of Health and Human Services has a wonderful tool called the Eldercare Locator. Support can be found down to the city or zip code of you and your elder. Go to Eldercare.gov and type in your location. Select the type of service or support you need.
L – Like it or not, I am the one responsible for my elders. I need practical information, but I don’t have much time to read or research.
- There are many great sources of quick, well-summarized information, most of it online.
- Sign up for free tips at DailyCaring.com. Their site has a great deal of well-researched, well-written, short tips. Follow them on Twitter too @DailyCaring.
- AgingCare.com has a daily email with 4-5 questions from caregivers. The site provides a forum for other caregivers to answer the questions. You can scroll through the responses to see if any of them pertain to your situation.
- Many local agencies on aging or non-profits benefiting the elderly (like The Senior Source in Dallas) have counselors that can assist families with questions, research and services. Search your area for “Area Agency on Aging (your town or state)”.
- Read my book – it’s short, packed full of guidance/tips/resources and you’ll let off some steam with your laughter. How To Take Care of Old People Without Losing Your Marbles is available here on this website, at many online booksellers and several retail locations as well.
P – Please just give me some time off!!
- Respite care is when the caregivers get to take a break and give the care to someone else for a few days.
- Ask family members and friends to relieve you for a few days or a week. Many won’t offer but would happily help if asked.
- Medicare pays for respite care as part of their Hospice benefit. Go to Medicare.gov for the specifics.
- This is a great article on finding respite care and getting it funded. https://www.care.com/c/stories/5768/how-do-i-pay-for-respite-care/
- While you’re off, read Tears in My Gumbo, The Caregiver’s Recipe for Resilience by Nadine Roberts Cornish. Ms. Cornish does plenty of soul-soothing and gives you the strength to return when your respite is finished.
You are not alone in this journey. Others have gone before you, some are on the path with you and most of the rest are headed there eventually. Reach out, get help, find answers, reduce your stress. If you spend less time in panic and frustration, you’ll spend more time giving the care. Don’t forget to care for yourself too. 🙂