Finding Local Caregiver Resources
Alzheimer’s disease is called a family disease because the ongoing stress of watching a loved one decline has a destructive effect on everyone. Problems with memory and behavior can come with additional challenges for family members and caregivers. The job of a caregiver is 24/7 and the work is never done. It is okay to ask for help and, in caregiving, taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do. Building a support system is the best way to ensure the needs of everyone in your family are being met.
When my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, one of the best things we did was to hire a health advocate who works with elderly patients. While this was an initial expense, it was easily offset by the resources she was able to obtain for us – activities and benefits we were unaware even existed.
- Signing my dad up for transportation to appointments through the local senior center.
- Enrolling him in a free ½ day activity at a local church for those with memory decline.
- Applying for VA benefits that entitles him to free prescriptions and a monthly stipend for his care.
She also made recommendations like switching his primary care provider from a general practitioner to one who specializes in geriatric care. She also helped my mom file as his healthcare proxy and obtain power of attorney.
While our advocate concentrated on opening care resources for my father, my brother and I began to look for local support groups for my mother and for ourselves.
Finding local groups was tremendously helpful, especially for my mother who benefited from connecting with other primary caregivers her age.
Here’s how we were able to get my mother connected locally:
- The local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association had a few different support groups in her area.
- The U.S. Administration on Aging Eldercare Locator provided her with counseling on health insurance options.
- Two different local memory care facilities offered support groups that were open to the public.
We also found many online resources helpful, especially for my brother who lives out of the country.
- The National Council on Aging offers a benefits checkup and provides a wealth of information on medicare benefits and prescription subsidies in your county/state.
- The National Institute on Aging has a fantastic blog focused on caregiving.
- AARP provides Family Caregiver Support Guides by state.
Our team at BRIGHT focuses on family and caregiver needs. Everything we do is in the service of families battling Alzheimer’s disease and those who want to prevent it. We hope this is a helpful resource for you and your family.
Read our other articles about caregiving here.