Give Me a Break: 7 Resources that Make Life Easier for Caregivers
“I must do something’ always solves more problems than ‘Something must be done’”. – Unknown author
Julia, a divorcee was one of the “sandwich generation” balancing life between an adult child who had come back home to live and aging parents who needed more of her time and resources. Between the two, it was worry about the failing health and ongoing care of her parents that caused the most stress.
And it was not just the finances -although she did not know where the money for their care would come from. Signs of deterioration showed they could not live alone much longer. And Julia knew she would not be able to shoulder the burden of full-time caregiver if they moved in with her.
The weight of having all the decision-making fall on her shoulders – some of it crucial when it came to her parents future needs – was making Julia feel overwhelmed and emotionally drained. She did not know where to begin to turn for help.
Caregiver is the term for anyone who looks after a person who needs assistance with daily tasks. Whether you move your loved ones into your home or keep them in their house, caregivers report that the daily challenges will leave you feeling guilty because of the anger, frustration and sometimes loss of patience you feel . You begin to feel there is no escape. It becomes even more complicated if the loved one suffers from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Fortunately there are agencies and community organization with services that can make life easier. Senior Centers offer meals and activities and some medical care. Senior Corps sends volunteers age 55 or older to visit the elderly at home. Occupational therapist can evaluate a home and recommend safety improvements such as grab bars in the bath tub as well as help the elderly improve their balance and strength.
Resources That Make Life Easier
Research in the June 2012 AARP Magazine offers an extensive list of resources including:
2. Your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) for living options your loved one may be entitled to www.n4a.org.
4. The National Association for Home Care & Hospice lists home-care agencies on its website www.nahc.org.
5. Leading Age represents not-for-profit senior residences on its website www.leadingage.org.
6. Medicare’s website ranks local nursing homes and health agencies www.medicare.gov.
7. Geriatric-care managers help with all aspects of caring for older adults www.caremanager.org.
After researching her options, Julia got help for her parents by working with community agencies in her area. They also steered her toward programs that help relieve some of the financial costs. On her own Julia explored The National Council on Aging website for sources of government aid at http://www.benefitscheckup.org.
For more comprehensive information and resources that make life easier for caregivers, AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center at http://www.aarp.org/caregivers is a one-stop shop.