Family Caregiving Resources [A Guide]

a granddaughter with her grandfather happy at homeAre you planning to take care of your loved one at home? It’s a noble task, and one that helps seniors and adults living with disabilities maintain consistent connections with the ones they love, in the place they’re most comfortable while preserving their dignity.

That said, caregiving is not for the faint of heart. The demands of caregiving can feel overwhelming at times. In most cases, job requirements increase over time and may become a 24/7 endeavor. The good news is that there is a wealth of caregiver resources and support avenues available to you.

Caregiver Resources For Short-Term & Long-Term Care

In some cases, your loved one may only require care for a temporary timeframe, such as after a hospital stay, to recover from an acute illness or injury, or as a form of respite care to relieve primary caregivers.

In this case, you’ll be looking for short-term care options. These may come in the form of things such as:

Typically, these services are booked via “minimum visit” windows that range from three- to four hours or so.

All of these services may also become a part of long-term care plans, where caregivers come for shifts once or multiple times per week, daily, or overnight – for extended periods of time.

Most long-term senior care services are divided between companionship services and personal care services, but can also include adult daycare or respite care services if hired caregivers are alternating shifts with a spouse or family caregiver.

Consultations with local home care agencies are free, no-obligation, and provide detailed information about various short- and long-term care options.

Knowing the signs leads to proactive planning

Sometimes the signs your loved one requires more support are obvious – the broken hip, the post-hospital recovery, an acute illness. Most of the time, however, the signs your loved one needs help creep up so slowly that nobody realizes it until one of the above crises is in motion.

Read 10 Signs Your Parents Need Assistance to Safely Stay at Home. If any of them resonate, it’s time to have a conversation with your parent(s), family members, and your parent’s healthcare providers to begin planning.

Create a collaborative and specific senior care plan

If your parents are open and receptive, or even tolerant, see if you can create a collaborative senior care plan. The more they have a say in what they do and don’t want, and that you have a say in what you’re able to do and what you aren’t, the easier it will be to implement progressive steps in the plan as you need them. 

Senior care plans are a good thing to create together as a family, prioritizing your loved one’s preferences and choices whenever possible. In addition to laying things out for all to hear/see, senior care plans are a fantastic caregiver resource to review again down the road as your loved one’s needs evolve.

Financial resources for in-home care

How do your loved ones or family plan to cover the costs for various care services required? In-home care is less expensive than assisted living or memory care options, but the costs still add up.

We recommend visiting our post Paying for Senior Care: Medicare, Medicaid, and Home Care to get you started on the financial planning aspects of senior care. If your loved one is a veteran, contact the local Veterans Administration (VA) office. VA benefits are often used to support the costs of both medical and non-medical home care services.

If a spouse or family member is currently serving as the primary caregiver, we also recommend reading Getting Paid to Take Care of Elderly Parents, which is a possibility for qualifying caregivers depending on the situation.

Adult daycare services 

Are you a working caregiver, or a caregiver who needs some daytime off from time-to-time? Research adult daycare centers in your area. They provide much-needed support for those who are still working, or who need weekday time for appointments, errands, or social engagements.  This offers a safe and engaging place for loved ones to spend time with licensed, qualified senior care specialists,

These centers are also wonderful caregiver resources in that they connect you to other senior care support services in your area.

Transportation support

If your loved one is still relatively independent, but no longer able to drive, contact your local or county transit office and inquire about senior-friendly transportation options. Many offer services dedicated to seniors or those require mobility aids for free or low-cost.

Services such as Uber-Health and Dial-a-Ride partner with licensed healthcare agencies and home care providers to facilitate transportation for seniors or those with medical conditions who require transportation to/from appointments, errands, and even social engagements.

Meal Planning

Healthy meal planning and preparation has never been easier. Meals-on-Wheels is a well-known meal delivery service that is free or extremely low-cost. They deliver one meal a day, and extras can be ordered to tie customers over on the weekends. Contact your local senior center to get information about Meals-on-Wheels or similar services available in your area.

Instacart is a great option if a senior prefers to shop from a variety of different grocery stores. This convenient service will deliver directly to their door.   

Supportive Caregiver Resources 

If you’re not careful, the demands of caregiving can take over your life, leading to caregiver fatigue or burnout. Caregivers need care, too, so take advantage of available resources in your area. 

We’ve mentioned respite care, but we also recommend looking into caregiver support groups in your area or seeking guidance from a local therapist to help you balance the challenges of work, home, family, and caregiving.

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