Help Available for Caregivers
Caregivers can experience high levels of stress when caring for a loved one who is ill and/or frail. According to CaregiverStress.com, nearly 25% of adults in the United States and Canada are currently caring for aging relatives. This additional responsibility can lead to emotional and physical stress for the caregiver. Nearly a third of caregivers wish they had more help.
There Is Help Available for Caregivers
As a caregiver, you are not alone. There are programs, websites and organizations set up to provide information and aid.
In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Program offers assistance to caregivers. The program is designed to aid adult caregivers of individuals sixty and older who suffer from an illness, disability, Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia-related disease. Assistance is also available to older caregivers of qualifying younger relatives.
Here are a few of the benefits offered by the Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Program:
- Advice and counseling
- Training in caregiving skills
- Assistance in accessing benefits
- Financial assistance to purchase supplies or services
- Funds for home modifications such as building ramps or modifying the bathroom
CaregiverStress.com is another helpful tool to assist caregivers. It is a 24/7 resource with useful advice, tips, articles and videos. On the website, be sure to take the Caregiver Stress Meter. It is designed to determine the level of stress you are currently experiencing as a caregiver. After the quiz, you will be given an assessment which offers resources to help your situation. It will also give you information on how to make sure you maintain your own health. Studies have shown that caregivers can age prematurely and cut 10 years from their life due to the extreme stress of caregiving.
It is important to monitor your own health as a caregiver. Those who take care of themselves are ultimately better at the care they provide.
- Do not hesitate to ask for help.
- When help is offered, accept it! Suggest specific things people can do to help.
- Seek support from other caregivers. Consider joining a local support group.
- Be aware of signs of depression and get professional help when you need it.
- Be open to ideas and technology that promote you loved one’s independence.
Other Helpful Resources:
Family Caregiver Alliance: www.caregiver.org
National Family Caregiver Association: www.thefamilycaregiver.org
Elder Care Locator: www.eldercare.gov
Alzheimer’s Association: www.alz.org