Top Places to Get Caregiving Support
Caring for your parent can be a daunting task. Between providing the actual care and managing your own life responsibilities, it can be difficult to find the time to research services and assistance that might help make the journey easier.
Whether you need actual physical help in the home or emotional support for you or your parent, reaching out can make a big difference in your day-to-day life. These underutilized free or low cost resources are a great place to start in connecting with others and finding support on your caregiving journey.
1. Senior Centers: If you haven’t figured it out, I am a huge fan of senior centers (Combatting Loneliness in Seniors). In addition to all of the wonderful activities and classes they offer, your local senior center is an excellent resource for you as a caregiver. Did you know that you can purchase Taxi vouchers for seniors there (depending on availability in your city)? They can also help you with applications for other city or federal transportation services and provide referrals for caregiver services. Many senior centers also provide tax help and computer training. This should definitely be one of your first stops in your caregiving journey.
2. Your Local Hospital Website: Many hospitals offer classes, workshops or support groups tailored to specific medical conditions or general well-being. They are usually facilitated by doctors, nurses or social workers and are designed to help patients live a healthier, richer life, even when they deal with a chronic health condition. This is a great way to gain valuable information on living well or to learn how to better deal with medical challenges – everything from diabetes to Parkinson’s Disease. You will also have the opportunity to meet others living with the same condition.
3. YMCA: I know, you’re thinking, wait, that’s a gym. You’re right, it is, but did you know that many YMCAs actually have senior programming? I know of three in my community that have special senior programs focusing on everything from life story writing, balance classes, healthy eating workshops and brain fitness classes. It’s not just about working out anymore, although, they also have fitness classes geared specifically towards seniors, including chair workouts, yoga and Tai Chi.
4. Nonprofit Organizations: While these organizations are mainly known for their fundraising and treatment research, nonprofit groups such as the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association and Alzheimer’s Association do more than fund research. Many of them also provide support for families and patients, including workshops, support groups and actual help in the home. I have heard of nonprofits providing everything from home cleaning services to patients undergoing treatment to sending caregivers to the home to give the caregiver a break. You won’t know what is offered until you reach out.
The caregiving journey can be challenging. Between all of the tasks of helping your parent run their life to running your own life, it can become overwhelming. Just taking one small step at a time to reach out for help will make a huge difference.
Are there services you have found to help lighten the caregiving load?