How often have you wished that you could call your father's home care agency and say that you will need his aide for the normal two hours on Monday, but just a half hour on Tuesday to drive him to the doctor's office. It makes sense to hire someone to help with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medication reminders, errands for only as many hours as an older adult needs help. But, it is rare that home care companies will provide a flexible schedule for these services. This article talks about a company using this approach. The jury is out whether others will follow suit. Would you use this kind of hourly service if it were available?
CARES (CAregivers REducing Stress) is a new program, funded primarily by the Pew Foundation, for anyone caring for an older family member or friend in Philadelphia. Lutheran Settlement House (in Fishtown), will provide support for caregivers who are prone to specific kinds of stress and health risks in their role. The program offers individual and family counseling, support groups, resources, and a lecture series, all for free to low-income families! To be eligible, you must be unpaid and caring for someone 65 or older. House calls are available. Contact Virginia at (215) 426-8610 x 207 or by e-mail: email@example.com.
Ellen Goodman, writer of a widely syndicated column, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for commentary, and nationally-recognized speaker on topics from friendship to feminism, recently had a new assignment: family caregiver. She traces her latest mission, leading a new campaign called the Conversation Project, to her role as “designated daughter” for her mother, who died five years ago at age 92. This campaign includes a "Starter Kit" to help people communicate with their loved ones about their end-of-life wishes...and a website that offers a place for people to share their experiences and learn more about this difficult issue.
Caregiving for parents and other relatives from afar can be a nightmare. Taking care of those who are nearby can be just as difficult, time-consuming, and stressful. It's hard to believe, but help is as close as your computer. Caregivers are in the forefront of those willing to seek resources online, with adults ages 50 to 64, increasing their use of social marketing sites by 454 percent from 2008 to 2012. Among the caregiving sites available are LotsaHelpingHands, Saturing, and CareZone. And if you need respite care in the Philadelphia area, contact Time Out, a program of Temple's Intergenerational Center that can provide students as companions.
NPR's Family Matters: The Money Squeeze series, that airs each Tuesday on Morning Edition, is about caregiving and multigenerational families. The latest story, the third in a series of eight, profiles the story of Yolanda Hunter's family in print and audio. For the Hunters, what started out as an act of love has become a difficult and costly decision that has no easy solution and brings up many questions of how caregiving impacts our society. Nearly 10 million people over the age of 50 are caring for their aging parents, and the number of caregivers has more than tripled over the past 15 years. Stayed tuned for the rest of these profiles...
Trying to create the best possible quality of life for an aging relative is "the new normal" for 43.5 million Americans caring for someone older than 50, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance. This comprehensive article addresses the issues that families face when a loved one begins to fail, the difficulties in finding the right kinds of care, and the questions that need to be asked by children to assess their parent's situation. Knowing about available resources and services for older adults is critical in dealing with the "new normal." To read more, click here.
As lifespans lengthen and the number of older adults increases, there are many adult "children" who find themselves providing care for their parents from afar. The National Institute on Aging estimates that about 7 million Americans are long-distance caregivers. Some insist on daily phone calls or video chats to hear or see how their loved one is doing. Oftentimes, they find another relative or a paid caregiver they can trust who is closer and able to help with some tasks. This is an ongoing dilemma that plagues those who want to do their best for their parents while respecting the parents' desire to remain in their homes.
Can being a family caregiver actually have physical and mental benefits? Hard to believe when you realize how draining, relentless, and demanding a role it can be. A few new studies are disabusing the traditional beliefs and are showing that there can be both health advantages, lower mortality rates for caregivers, and better scores on memory tests. Those who are doing well describe the rewards in psychological, emotional and even spiritual terms: growing confidence in one's abilities, feelings of personal satisfaction, increased family closeness.
Nobody prepared you to raise children...and here you are again, in a situation that calls for a fast learning curve, some help from friends and professionals, and the acceptance of a new role that is difficult, at best. Your parents are living in a senior facility and you are the "go to" for your parents and the staff. This article touches on questions of when you should get involved...and when you let your parents take the lead. The good news is that lots of boomers are entering these unchartered waters at the same time and can learn together when to "helicopter" or stay grounded.
The Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly has launched CaregiverGPS – The Elder’s Advocate, a web-based resource to help caregivers make decisions about elder care. The website offers several interactive tools to help provide a customized experience for individuals facing a critical transition point in the care of a loved one and provides unbiased guidance based on a caregiver’s unique situation. Caregivers in need of further assistance can also utilize CARIE OnLINE, or contact a CARIE LINE counselor at (215) 545-5728.