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Finding Caregiver Resources

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In the past two postings I have been talking about the warning signs of caregiver burnout as well as what caregivers can do to care for themselves.  At the center of a lot of what can be done for the caregiver is a very simple philosophy:   “Don’t try to do it all alone.”  As a Geriatric Care Manager, this is where I often get the call.  The caregiver or someone close to the caregiver needs somebody to help make decisions, take over some of the workload, stand up for an elder or other individual with special needs or counsel the caregiver on self-care.

There are other resources that can provide decision-making support, take on some of the caregiving responsibilities, advocate for an elder or caregiver and offer professional counsel on just coping with the responsibilities of caregiving.  There are services to help caregivers in most communities, and the cost is often based on ability to pay.  Look to programs such as adult day care centers, home health aides, home-delivered meals, respite care, transportation services, and skilled nursing. 

Some steps you can take include:

-Find the local Area Agency on Aging.  It may go by other names, but a Google search or even government or yellow pages search can give you some options.  Check the Illinois AAA .

-If the elder or special needs individual is a Vet, the Veterans Administration is source of a good many support services,some of which are free to a veteran.  For a map of service locations, go to VA MAP .

-There are other “affiliation groups” that can offer a range of support services.  This can include the Elks, the Moose Lodge, Masonic Lodge and more.  We should not overlook what religious denominations also can do along these lines.  It may only be telephonic check-ups or meals or companionship, but it can be just the support or respite a caregiver needs.

-Transportation may be challenge for the elder in which case your state or local Area Agency on Aging can again be a resource.  

-Just having a reliable agency to call on your elder who is relatively independent can also give piece of mind to a caregiver, and the Area Agency on Aging also offers pre-scheduled calling to homebound elders that can take some of the check-in responsibilities from the caregiver.

-Many local hospitals or long term care facilities offer day care for older adults.  Because they already are equipped to meet the special needs of older adults, they often extend day services to area clients at a nominal charge.

Charlotte Bishop is a Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Case Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families throughout metropolitan Chicago. Please email your questions to Charlotte Bishop.,geriatric care manager Chicago, geriatric care Chicago

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