How to Begin Finding Help
Knowing the challenges associated with caregiving, will hopefully help you realize that there are times when you just can’t go it alone. As a caregiver, you may need to take a break, or perhaps your situation has changed and you are no longer able to care for someone on your own. The following are idea on where to begin finding help from family, friends, and in your local community.
- Immediate family should be encouraged to have a role in caregiving. This is where it is important for everyone to kick in and help. Perhaps, a family member can provide you with an afternoon or weekend break. Is there someone who can help by doing the grocery shopping?
- You may want to dust off your list of friends. Perhaps someone has expressed a desire to help. When asking for outside help, it is important to not be vague with your need for help. If someone has expressed a desire to help, be clear what their limitations may be. This will help avoid hurt feelings if your expectations are not quite being met.
- If you belong to a faith-based organization, is there help available? This could come in the form of emotional support, or opportunities for you and the person you are caring for to participate in an outing.
- There may be organizations in the local community that can provide services. Perhaps you can hire someone to do house keeping. If the care receiver is homebound and in need of skilled nursing, the doctor can certify the care receive care from a Medicare Certified Home Health Agency.
Publicly Funded Services
To find out about what services are available you should call your Aging Resource Center or Area Agency on Aging. Your Aging Resource Center can put you in contact with community based services. The Area Agencies on Aging, advocates, plans, coordinates, develops and delivers services to seniors (60 years and older). Services include:
- Providing nutrition and supportive services.
- Providing home-based services as an alternative to institutional care.
- Administering Medicaid Waivers providing home and facility based services to eligible frail elders.
It is important to understand that funding for community-based services come from various sources. You may be able to purchase services privately, or qualify for a scholarship. It is important to check with the sponsoring organization, if you may have difficulty paying for service privately. Some services are paid for through a variety of federal and state funding sources including Older Americans Act, Community Care for the Elderly, and Medicaid Waiver. These programs are usually coordinated through the Area Agency on Aging.
Each funding source has times when funds are available to add new clients and times when funding is limited. If funds are unavailable, you may ask to be placed on a waiting list. These lists are not usually based on a "first come, first served" basis.
Waiting lists are usually based on the need of the care receiver. Even if there is a waiting list for services, your care receiver may qualify sooner because his or her needs are greater than those of another person who applied at an earlier time.
If you are unaware of how to contact your Aging Resource Center or Area Agency on Aging, there number can be found through the Eldercare Locator by calling toll-free at 1-800-677-1116 weekdays, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (ET) Many areas now also provide information and referral services by dialing 211 on your telephone.
Types of services
Here is a list of services you may need to access as a caregiver:
- Joining a support group is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a caregiver. Being part of a caregiver support group can put you in contact with other caregivers who may have experienced your situation. Don’t wait until you have reached a point of “burn out” to join a support group.
- Adult Day Services
- Respite Care
- Assistive Devices to Aid in Activities of Daily Living
- Home Delivered Meals
- Legal Assistance
- Financial Management Resources
- Geriatric Care Manager
- Home Health Support Services
- Memory screening