At some point, even the most fiercely independent people must accept that they need help. This lesson becomes even more poignant among aging seniors – many of whom want nothing more than to maintain their independence as they age. As the activities of daily living get harder to accomplish, seniors and family caregivers may realize that it’s time to search for assistance.
The good news is that there are all kinds of caregiving resources for seniors and family members alike. You might be surprised to learn how many local resources are available in your area, and how transformative these services can be once you take advantage of them. Perhaps the biggest barrier to assistance is the fact that many older adults and caregivers are completely unaware of the caregiving resources right at their fingertips.
SeniorsMatter makes it easy to find the best caregiving resources near you. If you need a little help, all you need to do is check out our Resource Hub. From the local AARP chapter to emotional support groups for family caregivers of aging parents, our directory will help you find what you’re looking for. In our free, online database, you’ll see reviews and contact information for nonprofits and other area organizations offering caregiver services. Our directory is also a great place to find referrals to local providers of health services such as home care and adult day care, attorneys for estate planning and other elder law issues, senior transportation services, and much more.
Caregiving resources – help is right at your fingertips
What are caregiving resources?
Caregiving resources are nonprofit organizations, local support groups, charities, advocacy groups, and others that provide both caregivers and seniors with useful information, financial assistance, advice, and options for care services. These resources may be purely digital in nature or they may take the form of local branches that you can visit in person.
Why might family members or seniors need caregiving resources?
Seniors may need caregiving resources for a number of different reasons. Sometimes, caregivers and seniors may simply need more information about a service or medical condition. All kinds of questions may arise on subjects like retirement, medical treatment, estate planning, home safety, and long-term care. If you’re a family caregiver and you suddenly find yourself looking after a senior loved one, you may feel overwhelmed by this responsibility. Caregiving resources are there to provide you with information, support, advocacy, referrals, and even direct help.
Seniors and caregivers may be in need of financial assistance. Many seniors are on fixed or low-income budgets that may limit their care options. A range of nonprofit caregiving resources exist to offer funds, grants, and discounts to cover the costs of aging in place, visiting the doctor, receiving specialized treatment, and much more. In many situations, seniors are completely unaware that they qualify for this financial assistance until they connect with the proper caregiving resources.
Many older adults deal with loneliness and depression, and they need opportunities to socialize and connect with other people. Some caregiving resources such as support groups hold regular meetings and events to create a sense of purpose, cultivate friendships, and improve mental well-being. The same is true for caregiver support groups that provide assistance to those who struggle to care for their elder loved ones.
Family caregivers may also benefit from resources specifically geared towards preventing burnout. This is a real issue among many caregivers today. Organizations across the nation provide emotional support and mental health breaks as you maintain care for an elderly loved one.
These are just a few examples of why family members and seniors might need caregiving resources. There are many other situations that may call for a helping hand, and you can find resources that cater towards your specific situation.
Questions to ask yourself if you think you might need caregiving support
- Do I feel overwhelmed by my role as a caregiver?
- Am I struggling to make ends meet while caring for my senior?
- Would my senior benefit from connecting with others?
- Do I know enough about my senior’s needs and conditions?
- What would I do if I needed advocacy for my senior?
What kinds of services do caregiving resources provide?
A smart first step is to get in touch with aging service and advocacy groups in the United States. These organizations provide a range of services and information, allowing you to assess your situation and move forward with confidence. Here are some examples of general caregiving resources:
- AARP: The American Association of Retired Persons has more than 38 million members and is one of the most well-known senior-focused interest groups in the United States. Through its magazines and bulletins, AARP provides education and guidance on a range of issues, including health care, health insurance, social security, age discrimination, and much more.
- National Caregiver Support Program: Also known as the NFCSP, this organization provides funding for support for seniors and caregivers who have decided that aging in place is the best option.
- National Center on Caregiving: Also known as the NCC, this organization is constantly developing new, cost-effective solutions for caregivers across the nation. It is an excellent source of information.
- WISER: The Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement helps caregivers make sound financial decisions. With help from this resource, caregivers can look after their elder loved ones in an affordable manner while simultaneously saving for their own retirements.
- Area Agency on Aging: This non-profit company aims to address the needs and concerns of seniors who are planning to age in place, providing information on area senior programs, services, and other community resources.
- Senior Services of America: This organization specializes in senior housing communities. These include communities geared towards independent living, assisted living, memory care, long-term care, and much more.
Other examples of aging support groups include the Aging Life Care Association, the Meals on Wheels Association of America, the Administration for Community Living, In-Home Supportive Services, and VA Caregiver Support. And of course, there may be many other community resources on the regional or municipal level. These smaller organizations may operate out of local churches, hospitals, and senior centers.
The best way to learn about and manage age-related health conditions is to refer to experts. There are a number caregiver resources that provide health services or specialize in specific health concerns, such as:
- Alzheimer’s Association: This organization operates on a global scale, providing care services and support to all those dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Their Helpline is available 24/7 and is staffed by professionals, while support groups and educational sessions provide further assistance.
- SHIP: The State Health Insurance Assistance Program provides community-based networks staffed by trained counselors. Assistance can either be provided in-person or by phone. SHIP also gives group presentations and strives to educate seniors about the ins and outs of Medicare.
- Department of Health: The Department of Health offers a wide range of resources at HHS.gov. Their site helps you find local resources for assistance and other government services. There are also many web pages dedicated to the subject of aging, featuring information on Social Security benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, healthy aging, and much more.
- LBDA: The Lewy Body Dementia Association provides assistance to those suffering from this specific type of dementia and promotes scientific advances to treat the illness. Otherwise known as “LBD,” Lew body dementia affects more than 1 million people in the United States and is especially common after the age of 50.
- Alzheimer’s Foundation of America: The Alzheimer’s Foundation was founded in 2002 by a caregiver and provides support, advocacy, and education to both seniors and family members affected by Alzheimer’s disease. They offer a toll-free helpline, a free memory screening program, and training for caregivers.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of health care resources, and there are many others that can offer assistance. These organizations include the Department of Health and Senior Services in your state, the Parkinson’s Foundation, the Administration on Aging, the American Red Cross Family Caregiver Program, the National Indian Council on Aging, the Department of Veteran Affairs, and many others. You can also find community resources by attending meetings at nearby churches, hospitals, senior centers, and other locations. You should also keep an ear out for any resources suggested by local doctors, nurses, or service providers.
Some of the most effective caregiving resources focus on providing emotional support information, and advice to both seniors and family members. Examples include:
- Caregiver Action Network: This organization provides a Peer Forum, a Story Sharing platform, and many other ways to connect and share with others in your situation.
- ARCH National Respite Network: This organization is involved in respite and crisis care programs across the nation, helping families locate respite care. ARCH holds annual events and provides caregivers with a chance to network with others.
- Family Caregiver Alliance: The FCA provides services to family caregivers, specifically focusing on caregivers who are looking after adults with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other forms of dementia. They offer care planning, wellness programs, and consultation vouchers.
There are many other support groups that can provide assistance, and the above organizations are just the tip of the iceberg. Additional caregiver support groups include Working Daughter, Parent to Parent USA, the Purple Sherpa Basecamp, and Caregivers Connect. Of course, you can also seek support from local friends and family and church members. You might also consider getting help from a nearby mental health professional if you’re struggling as a caregiver.
News & information
The world of elder care is constantly changing, and it makes sense to stay up-to-date if you’re a family caregiver. News and informational resources can inform you of new innovations, changing legislature, and much more. By staying updated, you can take advantage of new opportunities and make caregiving even easier. Here are a few news resources to keep in mind:
- Today’s Caregiver: Founded in 1995, Today’s Caregiver provides information and guidance through its magazine, its various books, and its website.
- HuffPost Caregiving: A subdivision of HuffPost, this news site runs news articles on a variety of developments that may affect caregivers – including changes in government and politics.
- MemoryWell Magazine: This independent news platform employs 700 writers who draw upon their own caregiving experiences to provide relevant and targeted content.
- Transition Aging Parents: This popular blog was started by Dale Carter, a long-distance caregiver who writes about a wide range of related issues, including finances, housing, and mental health.
- U.S. News Health: This well-known news publication covers a surprising amount of topics related to caregiving and is an excellent source for both up-to-date information and practical tips.
These are just a few examples of news resources that may be helpful for both seniors and caregivers. Other potential sources of information include the CDC’s Covid-19 Guidance for Older Adults page, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice website, the “Senior News” section of Consumer Affairs, and many others. Of course, you can also stay up-to-date on the latest developments by networking with others, speaking with friends and family in churches or hospitals, and reading your local newspaper.
Along with medical and financial hurdles, seniors may need advocacy for a variety of reasons, including legal issues. Elder individuals are especially vulnerable to scams, a range of abuse, and unscrupulous estate planning. Fortunately, there are a number of advocacy groups that can assist you with senior-related legal issues:
- The National Council on Aging: The NCOA is a respected advocacy group in the United States, and its goal is to provide resources and education to help seniors age in the easiest way possible. They’re also constantly fighting for better policies that reflect the needs and concerns of seniors across the country. Sign up for their “advocacy alerts” to receive instant notifications about policy changes that can affect seniors in the United States.
- The Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly: Also known simply as “CARIE,” this organization helps individual seniors with a range of issues. It also strives towards meaningful legal reforms, senior rights, and strong protections for the elderly.
- Legal Advocates for Seniors and People with Disabilities: Also known simply as the “LASPD,” this is an excellent organization to contact if you run into senior-related legal issues. LASPD consists of many affordable lawyers that can help you and your seniors approach social security claims, debt, and much more.
- National Center on Elder Abuse: This organization works to fight elder abuse in all forms, and it provides resources and education to help those affected by this misconduct and those trying to prevent it. The NCEA also pushes for better policies that help defend vulnerable seniors against abuse.
- National Elder Law Foundation: This organization provides certification to lawyers who wish to practice in areas of law relevant to seniors. They also publish advice articles and news as well as referrals to legal representatives holding their certification.
These are only a few examples of advocacy groups that can help seniors and caregivers with all kinds of needs. Many other aforementioned groups also offer advocacy services, such as the AARP and the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition, you can seek help by attending meetings in your local area, speaking with local government representatives, or by booking a consultation with a nearby attorney who specializes in elder law.
Talking about getting help
Making the decision to seek help can be difficult for everyone involved. Some family caregivers believe that they can handle this difficult burden on their own, while seniors may also stubbornly refuse help. A discussion or an intervention with all family members present can help everyone realize how helpful these caregiving resources can be.
How to approach the topic of caregiving resources
If your senior is reluctant to accept help or guidance from one of the aforementioned organizations, point out that these are trustworthy enterprises with established reputations. You might also highlight specific services or resources provided by these organizations that could be attractive to seniors.
A family caregiver who seems unwilling to ask for help may require a slightly different approach. Remind them that caregiver services are not there to take their place but to provide additional support and help them avoid burnout.
Questions to encourage seniors or caregivers to consider getting help
- Have you considered what might happen if you burn out?
- Haven’t you earned the right to receive a little bit of help?
- Doesn’t it make sense to learn more about caregiving?
- If you take caregiving seriously, shouldn’t you search for all the help you can get?
Paying for caregiving resources
How much do caregiving resources cost?
One of the best aspects of caregiving services and other community resources for seniors is that almost all of them offer help at no charge. These nonprofit and government organizations are there to help everyone as much as possible.
How can I find caregiving resources?
If you’re looking for a more in-depth list of caregiving resources specific to your state and local area, SeniorsMatter can help. Our Resource Hub is your ideal starting point, and this free online listing puts a wide range of caregiving resources right at your fingertips. Check it out today and get the help your family needs.