Community Caregiving Resources: What’s Available and How to Find Them
Communities provide an important source of social connection and belonging. For caregivers, communities offer much-needed services and support to help them better navigate their role and tend to their own needs. Yet, surprisingly, a recent study by Carewell found that many caregivers have never used the resources available in their communities.
Whether you’re looking for a support group in your area or programs to help you care for your loved one, your community can help. We’ve put together an overview of the types of resources you may find in your community and offer tips on how to find them.
What Resources Do Communities Offer?
Community caregiving resources vary by state, county, and city. The majority offer support and services for caregivers and the loved ones they care for. Some services are specifically designed for people with certain conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or developmental disabilities. Remember to research who the program/services support to make sure you select a service or program that best meets your needs. Below is an overview of the most common caregiver resources.
Family caregiver support groups are exactly like they sound: a gathering of caregivers that support each other. These groups can meet in-person or virtually for caregivers to talk about the challenges they’re dealing with and their feelings and receive advice/tips from other caregivers that may be helpful.
They provide a safe and judgment-free zone for caregivers to get things off their chest and provide much-needed human interaction. Caregiving can be isolating. By hanging out with people who understand what you’re going through, support groups make caregivers feel heard and understood.
Some communities offer respite programs to give caregivers a short break from their responsibilities. Respite care ranges from a few hours to overnight care. The goal is to relieve primary caregivers of their duties temporarily so they can rest or tend to important personal matters that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
Services may be available through faith-based organizations, non-profits, or local home-care businesses. As for cost, faith-based and non-profits often provide care for free or for a reduced price. Expect to pay for respite care offered by a home-health business. However, some states’ Medicaid guidelines have waivers to help cover costs. Check your state’s specific Medicaid guidelines to determine eligibility for your loved one.
Adult Daycare and Senior Community Groups
Adult daycare centers and senior community groups are great options for care recipients that could use social interaction. Adult daycare centers are designed for older adults that require a watchful eye to ensure they’re safe and their needs are met while letting them mingle with others. On the other hand, senior community groups provide a less structured environment where seniors can participate in activities and engage with others their age.
It’s important to note that while adult daycare centers offer respite as caregivers are able to leave their loved ones with staff, not all senior community groups provide that. Depending on the program or group, caregivers may have to accompany their loved one to the activities to make sure their needs are met.
Some communities offer transportation services for those that can’t use public transportation. These services are provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act and usually consist of wheelchair-accessible vans or taxis that offer curb-to-curb rides. Depending on the organization, services may be free or offered at a low cost.
Nutrition programs offer free or low-cost meals in group settings and are usually available through faith-based organizations, senior centers, housing projects, and community centers. For those that can’t leave their homes due to a lack of transportation or mobility challenges, there are programs, like Meals on Wheels, that can make deliveries. Meals are commonly only delivered on weekdays, so it’s important that your loved one have enough food to cover weekends as well.
How Do I Start My Search for Community Resources?
Once you’ve reviewed your needs and decided what type of program or service would most benefit you and your loved one, you can begin contacting community care services in your area. Remember that finding the right organizations and programs for your needs can be time-consuming and may require you to make several calls. Try not to get overwhelmed, and know that every phone call and conversation gets you closer to finding the support you need.
Here are a few tips to help guide you in your search:
Don’t give up! There are plenty of resources and programs available across the country that can assist you. It’s just a matter of finding the right one.
Start your search before you’ve reached a critical need to avoid added stress.
Before calling, be prepared with information about your loved one’s diagnosis, needs, insurance information, etc.
Ask as many questions as you need to understand each service and program.
You may need to explain your role and needs as a caregiver. Not everyone is familiar with caregivers’ responsibilities.
Ask about service rates and request documents, like a rate card, to avoid surprise costs.
Write down all the information you receive, and record the name of the person you speak with.
How Can I Find Community Resources in My Area?
National Family Caregiver Support Program
The National Family Caregiver Support Program is a great starting point. It’s part of the Administration for Community Living and provides states with funds to support services that benefit family and informal caregivers. In addition, you can find information on available support groups, respite care, and even counseling.
Another great resource is Eldercare Locator. This tool is part of the U.S. Administration on Aging and helps connect caregivers with services in their area. Simply search by your city/state or zip code, and you’ll find a list of organizations that provide information and assistance to older adults and caregivers. Resources range from government programs to organizations with condition-specific services.
Non-profit organizations offer a treasure trove of information and resources. They provide support groups for caregivers and recommend local services. National non-profits usually have local chapters, which you can contact to learn more about what’s available in your area.
Here are a few national non-profit organizations that focus on common conditions:
Community Resources Are There to Help
Caregiving community resources were designed to help caregivers and their loved ones. Whether you need a helping hand to make sure your care recipient’s needs are met or you need support to help you on your caregiving journey, reach out to them. Do your research to understand what types of programs or support are best for you, and don’t let the hunt for the perfect service overwhelm you. Once you find the help you need, you’ll be glad you did.
Need more information?
Being a caregiver can be challenging, especially while looking for the support you need. Carewell is here for you. If you need help finding products for your loved one or have caregiving-related questions, talk to one of our caregiving specialists today. Call 855-855-1666. We’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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