Caregiver Support and Resources
Family Members Can Be a Resource for Caregivers
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
More Information for Caregivers
- What Is Caregiver Burnout, And What Can I Do About It?
- Suddenly a Caretaker
My loved one is suddenly ill! What do I do? Well, hopefully, this article can help you find where to begin.
- How to Prepare for the Alzheimer's Caregiver Role
"Preparation is the key to facing any opponent.” (Coach Broyles) Here are eight steps the Alzheimer's Caregiver can take as part of her combat preparation against this vicious disease.
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
Perhaps the toughest part of care giving is the emotional toll it can take. This book offers practical solutions to help you, the caregiver.