Finding Support

by AnnaMarie Piersimoni

There are services to help caregivers in most communities, and the cost is often based on ability to pay or covered by the care receiver's insurance. Services that may be available in your community include adult day care centers, home health aides, home-delivered meals, respite care, transportation services, and skilled nursing.

Caregiver services in your community
Call your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) senior center, senior services organization, county information and referral service, university gerontology department, family service, or hospital social work unit for contact suggestions.

Caregiver support for veterans
If your care recipient is a veteran, home health care coverage, financial support, nursing home care, and adult day care benefits may be available. Some Veterans Administration programs are free, while others require co-payments, depending upon the veteran's status, income, and other criteria.

Your family member's affiliations
Fraternal organizations such as the Elks, Eagles, or Moose lodges may offer some assistance if your family member is a longtime dues-paying member. This help may take the form of phone check-ins, home visits, or transportation.

Community transportation services
Many community transportation services are free for your care recipient, while others may have a nominal fee or ask for a donation. Your local AAA can help you locate transportation to and from adult day care, senior centers, shopping malls, and doctor's appointments.

Telephone check-ins
Telephone reassurance provides prescheduled calls to homebound older adults to reduce their isolation and monitor their well-being. Check with your local AAA, religious groups, senior centers, and other public or nonprofit organizations.

Adult day care
If your loved one is well enough, consider the possibility of adult day care. An adult day care center can provide you with needed breaks during the day or week and your loved one with some valuable diversions and activities.

To find a community support group, check the yellow pages, ask your doctor or hospital, or call a local organization that deals with the health problem you would like to address in a support group.

To find an Internet support group, visit the website of an organization dedicated to the prolem or do a web search on the name of the problem.

To get you started, take a look at the Resources section on this page.

People live near each other and meet in a given place each week or month. You can find a local support group through the Resources above or even start your own. You can download this how-to guide from the Los Angeles Caregiver Resource Center.People are from all over the world and have similar interests or problems. They meet online &mdash through E-mail, websites, message boards, or chat rooms and social networking sites, such as Facebook.
You get face-to-face contact and a chance to make new friends who live near you.You can get support without leaving your house, which is good for people with limited mobility and transportation problems.
The meetings get you out of the house, get you moving to provide a social outlet, and reduce feelings of isolation.You can access the group whenever it's convenient for you or when you need help most.
Meetings are at a set time. You will need to attend them regularly to get the full benefit of the group.You can access the group whenever it is convenient for you or when you need help most.
Since the people in the support group are from your area, they'll be more familiar with local resources and issues.If your problem is very unusual — a rare disease, for example — there may not be enough people for a local group, but there will always be enough people online.

Helpguide.org © 2001-2012. All rights reserved. For more information, visit www.Helpguide.org.
Sources: PBS: Caring for Your Parents;
Family Caregiver Alliance

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