Caregiving for an older family member can present a host of challenges. From being responsible for someone’s emotional and physical health, liable for their financial resources, to possibly needing to arrange long-term care, caretaking encompasses a great deal of commitments. In the midst of these obligations; you’re still needing to make sure that your health and well-being are taken care of.
Whether you are new to caregiving for a family member, or have been doing it for a while, it can be a difficult process to navigate on your own. But you are not alone, about one quarter of all American families (54 million), care for an older family member, a child with disabilities or a friend. We’ve arranged some wonderful resources that you can access to get help in this difficult situation.
AARP offers a treasure trove of information and resources. Through their website, you can begin your quest for knowledge by downloading a “Prepare to Care Guide”. This guide walks you through having difficult conversations with aging family members, how to get their financial obligations and paperwork in order, and how to locate local resources that can assist you.
Also, through AARP is a Caregiving Community where you can connect and chat with other members of the community going through the same process, as well as ask questions you’d like some help with. If you’d like to talk to someone over the phone, as opposed to online, they also run a support hotline that you can reach at 888-333-5885.
Another avenue of support is through Caregiver Action Network’s Caregiver’s Help Desk. This free service provides phone, e-mail, or chat support. According to them, they are ‘a non-profit organization providing education, peer support, and resources to family caregivers across the country free of charge.’ You can visit their website to chat or e-mail or call 855-227-3640.
The Alzheimer’s Association and AARP developed an expansive Community Resource Finder, linking caregivers to many different services. Through this database caregivers can find local home care professionals, transportation information, community service resources, medical, and housing information. You can search for many different services, and the results will provide you with their contact information. This is another great way to get local support.
In the Lynn area, we are very fortunate to have specific programs for family caregivers. Greater Lynn Senior Services (GLSS) provides Family Caregiver Support and Elder Care advisor programs. Some of these services include in-home assessments to determine the level of care that is needed, counseling support groups for family caregivers, as well as education and training.
GLSS also provides in-person support groups, facilitated by social workers, providing a safe environment to share your mind and get support from other caregivers that may be going through the same difficulties as you. Due to the pandemic, these may change, so for more information, contact Taylor Lambert, LCSW at (781) 586-8511 or Debby Segil, LICSW (781) 586-8540.
The Family Care Navigator can also lead you in the right direction to find local resources for specific issues you may be experiencing as a caregiver. Also, on their website you can find a wealth of information for support. There is a great section of facts and tip-sheets that really break down the information and makes it easy to learn and expand your skill set.
As caregiving for a loved one can be emotionally and physically demanding, it’s quite alright if you need some help to get a moment of reprieve. Respite is a service that provides a temporary break between the family caregiver and the care recipient. Having a break occasionally will help you be more effective in caring for your loved one and assist you in avoiding ‘caregiver burnout.’ There are specific programs that provide respite for family caregivers. One in particular is ARCH National Respite Center. Their network contains a National Respite Locator, connecting caretakers and professionals with locating respite workers in their community.
Here at Solimine Funeral Home, we are here for you, to help provide support and guidance in any way we can. Through our website, you can find our support library that provides resources for caregivers. Also, feel free to call us anytime at (781) 595-1492.
In caring for a family member, you need to ensure that you’re caring for yourself. Many people hold this responsibility, and there are great organizations available to help. In what may feel like an isolating experience, you need to know that you are not alone, and it’s okay to reach out for help.