Caregiver Support and Resources

Family Members Can Be a Resource for Caregivers

Don't underestimate the willingness of those around you to provide emotional and/or physical support.
Don't underestimate the willingness of those around you to provide emotional and/or physical support. | Source

Caregivers Need Help

Caregivers, whether caring for a family member or friend, need and deserve all the help they can get. Family caregivers provide the bulk of long-term care in the United States, providing $450 billion worth of unpaid care each year.

Although they are often unsung heroes, more and more states, senior and veteran's groups are recognizing both their value and their needs. More resources and support services are becoming available to caregivers to offer solutions to unmet or ongoing needs.

If you are a caregiver, or know someone who is, consider the support and resources provided here as a beginning point in the journey to find what you need when you need it.


Seven Resources for Caregivers

Signs of Caregiver Stress, Burnout

How to Find Caregiver Support and Resources

You have to begin somewhere in your search for assistance and aid in dealing with the many issues caregivers face. Where you begin isn't nearly as important as the fact that you do begin. Call, write, go online; any or all of these methods will bring you closer to finding the help you need.

  • Area Agency on Aging: The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging provides information on advocacy, training, resources and publications related to seniors. At this site you will be able to find the Area Agency on Aging or Title VI Native American program nearest you. The folks at your local AAA are familiar with care giving and with resources available in and around your community and state.
  • Eldercare Locator: The Eldercare Locator, a service provided by the U.S. Administration on Aging, helps you find services and resources by zip code, city and state, or via an online chat with an information specialist Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET on issues such as caregiver, financial assistance, in-home services, legal assistance, food & nutrition and more.
  • ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center: The ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center is a one-stop-shop to finding respite services in or near your community. Respite care is planned or emergency care needed for a child or adult with special needs to provide temporary relief to family caregivers for that individual.
  • Family members, friends, spiritual organizations and support groups are locally available assets just waiting to be tapped.
  • Your public library has resource materials available to borrow or access online.
  • Elected officials such as the state and federal representatives and senators for your area may also point you in the right direction for any questions or concerns you may have.

Family Caregivers Network Society Resource Guide

Support Groups Specific to Caregivers

One of the issues that affect many caregivers is the feeling of isolation. Even though well-meaning friends and family members may be supportive, they don't know exactly what you're going through because they haven't been in the same situation. One of the better ways to feel less isolated is to talk with people who are, or have been, in similar circumstances as yourself. This is where support groups offer a lifeline.

  • Local support groups for caregivers and/or for specific care concerns such as Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer, veteran's disabilities and more offer useful information and a social network. If no caregiver support group exists in your community, you might consider starting one. You'll likely be surprised to learn how many others in your area have been waiting for such an opportunity.
  • Family Caregiver Alliance: A national organization, the Family Caregiver Alliance provides a wide variety of information and sources of support to family caregivers. At the site you will find fact sheets and publications, care giving info and advice, and support groups for caregivers.
  • National Family Caregivers Association: The NFCA is one of the largest organizations in the nation, dedicated to educating, supporting, empowering and advocating for family caregivers. Here is another site chock full of information caregivers want, and need, to know. The NFCA provides a number of ways for caregivers to connect with one another at their Connecting Caregivers page.
  • Many Strong: Many Strong is the AARP's online tool for caregiver support and conversations. AARP has many informative and helpful resources for caregivers in the Caregiving Resource Center.
  • The Caregiver Action Network provides a free monthly newsletter straight to your email chock full of information useful to caregivers called Take Care! Click on the link to sign-up for this helpful tool that is written from the family caregiver's perspective.

About the Author

Having worked in long-term care for more than two decades and now providing assistance-as-needed to aging family members, I am familiar with the rewards and the pitfalls of being a caregiver.

Untapped Resources for Caregivers

The list of support services and resources listed here is not exhaustive by any means, but provides a starting point in your journey to being a successful and healthy caregiver. It takes a lot of strength as a person to be a caregiver and it requires strength of character to ask for help. You don't have to do this alone.

How to Survive Caregiving and Other Resources

The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers: Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping an Aging Parent
The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers: Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping an Aging Parent

Perhaps the toughest part of care giving is the emotional toll it can take. This book offers practical solutions to help you, the caregiver.

 
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers: 101 Stories of Love, Sacrifice, and Bonding
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers: 101 Stories of Love, Sacrifice, and Bonding

True stories written by caregivers; it's like a support group in the convenience of a book.

 
Self-Care for Caregivers: A Twelve Step Approach
Self-Care for Caregivers: A Twelve Step Approach

A step-by-step self-help guide to successful care giving.

 

More by this Author


Comments 6 comments

healthylife2 profile image

healthylife2 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

Thanks for sharing this valuable information. Fortunately my parents are healthy at the moment but I have many friends that have parents that are not in good health so I will pass this information to them. Voted up and shared!


L.L. Woodard profile image

L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City Author

Healthylife2, your friends are fortunate to have a friend as concerned as yourself. I'm happy to know you found the information useful.

Thanks so much for stopping by and Sharing.


Gail Meyers profile image

Gail Meyers 4 years ago from United States

I enjoyed your hub, thanks for the information. I know from experience this can be an exhausting, overwhelming and traumatic situation. I think it's great you took the time to put this information out there.


L.L. Woodard profile image

L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City Author

Gail, I appreciate you stopping by to read and comment. I think caregivers sometimes get sucked into a vacuum because they are so overwhelmed and every moment of their days are spoken for, so I'm not too sure that many of them will consider looking for the support and resources they need. Friends, family members and co-workers can be very helpful in pointing caregivers in the right direction.


Dreamhowl profile image

Dreamhowl 4 years ago from United States of America

These are very good resources and while, at this point in my life, I don't anticipate the need, that may change many years down the road. Voted up.


L.L. Woodard profile image

L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City Author

Dreamhowl, thanks for the read, comment and vote. There are a lot more resources available to caregivers out there, but the ones listed have lots of valuable information and provide suggestions for additional resources.

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