November was Family Caregivers Month—a perfect time to offer support and resources to millions of people who care for a loved one full-or part-time. An estimated 44 million American families and friends provide unpaid care to another adult, according the Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA). These caregivers provide about 80% of the long-term care in the United States.
Caregiving can take a personal and professional toll. Caregivers are at higher risk for depression, stress, and health problems like heart disease. They are less likely to care for themselves and their own health. Up to half of all caregivers are also working. These employees often lose time and wages, give up on career opportunities, or even quit their jobs to provide care to their family member. Below are six resources you can share with family caregivers to help them do their important job for their loved ones.
- SERVE (Services, Education, and Resources for Vulnerable Elders) Program through Family and Children Services of Central Maryland provides a comprehensive, community-based initiative. Using a holistic, strength-base approach, the core component of SERVE is case management. Case managers take a problem solving approach, helping people understand their options and frequently directing them to resources that can help alleviate the current pressures. Case Managers also help individuals and families plan for the future and take steps that will help them avoid problems in the future. SERVE also offers: in-home services, respite care, transportation, mental health services, caregiver support and advocacy on behalf of seniors and their caregivers. CALL Julie Jones 410-366-1980 ext 271.
- Benefits CheckUp – Millions of seniors and adults with disabilities qualify for, but are not enrolled in programs that could help them pay for prescription drugs, medical care, food, or heat for their homes. Benefits CheckUp is a free, confidential, online service to see if you qualify for benefits and take the first steps toward applying.
- My Medicare Matters- Let’s face it, Medicare can be confusing. This free website provides step-by-step help to choose a Medicare plan for the first time, reassess coverage each year during open enrollment, and answer common questions about Medicare and what it covers.
- Home Equity Advisor – A person’s home is often their largest and most important financial asset. Most older adults want to stay independent in their own homes as long as possible. This free website developed with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation helps older homeowners explore how they might be able to use their home equity to stay healthy and secure as they age.
- Eldercare Locator – The Administration on Aging offers this free public service to help connect people to services for older adults and their families. Reach Eldercare Locator 1-800-677-1116.
- Family Care Navigator – This state-by-state resource from the Family Caregiver Alliance helps caregivers locate government, nonprofit, and private programs in their area. FCA also offers a wealth of information on care strategies, stress relief, family issues, and hands-on care, as well as online discussion groups to keep caregivers connected to each other.
VA Caregiver Support – The Veterans Administration offers this website for caregivers of veterans of all ages, along with a toll-free support line at 1-855-260-3274.