Finding Help for Caregivers
You were not meant to be the only caregiver in the world. No, there are plenty of other people who know how to help and are even willing to help. You just have to ask them. When finding help for caregivers, there are many places to look.
Have you or your loved one ever belonged to a community organization? Whether it’s the Lions Club, the Elks or Moose lodges or the PTA, you probably still have connections there. Do they know that you are looking to find help? Perhaps they have a program of home visitation or transportation that you could use. Maybe an old friend there would welcome a regular phone call from your loved one too. Finding help for caregivers may be informal and voluntary, not professional or requiring payment. But what’s better than help from old friends?
Learn about Support Groups for Caregivers
Where You Worship
Your church or synagogue may have a group that would gladly help with caregiving. Perhaps you could count on that group to invite your loved one to a monthly meeting or lunch. Maybe you yourself could get out and go to a meeting if one of them could sit with the family member you care for daily. If the people at your church or synagogue know that you would welcome interaction, it is very likely they would respond. You might ask for transportation to a meeting, or a regular visit each week for both caregiver and patient.
Caring for Veterans
Finding help for caregivers gets easier if you care for a veteran or you are a veteran. There’s a lot of support organizations out there. For example, The Paralyzed Veterans of America can help vets with attendant care. Call the Veterans Administration or your area VA hospital to find local organizations and find out about the services already in place for you and your loved one.
Health-Related Advocacy Organizations
There are organizations that offer services to patients with particular disabilities or illnesses. Find them online and check out what they offer in your area. There could be support groups, and outreach services available to you such as transportation, counseling, or recreational activities just designed for caregivers and the patients. The American Cancer Society, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the Alzheimer’s Association are some of the organizations that have a long history of helping caregivers cope with patients with disease and disability. You will find people there whom you have something in common with, and not just a disease or disability.
Major Medical Centers
Often, there are caregiver support groups at a local hospital, medical center, or medical school. The groups are managed by counselors, nurses, or social workers and are planned opportunities to help and inform caregivers. The groups may plan counseling sessions, educational presentations, or outings where patients and caregivers are invited. The group leader would know about services offered throughout the hospital system that could fit your needs and your budget. At a hospital, the social work office might be the place to start to find help for caregivers.
Your Senior Center
The local senior center is a good place for finding help. Ask about activities, services, transportation and referral to other kinds of help in your hometown. Does someone know someone who cleans houses, who mows lawns, who grooms dogs, or who is a good personal care attendant in your area? Ask the people at the senior center near you!
Any Service, Anywhere
The Eldercare Locator, a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, is the first step to finding resources for older adults in any U.S. community. Just one phone call or website visit provides an instant connection to resources for seniors. Call 1-800-677-1116 or visit the website: www.eldercare.acl.gov/
The service links those who need assistance with state and local area agencies on aging and community-based organizations that serve older adults and their caregivers. In the U.S., contact your local Area Agency on Aging for help with caring for older family members.
See, you are not alone. finding help for caregivers is as easy as picking up the phone or going online. Ask a community organization, a church, or a health advocacy organization to find help for caregivers that meets your needs.
There are people who want to be helpful to you and to your loved one. Call on them for the support you need.