According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, more than 34 million Americans provide unpaid care to adults aged 50 or older. Of these, nearly 16 million care for patients with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
It isn’t easy to care for yourself while also caring for an aging relative— especially if you are navigating a complicated illness or family situation. It’s important to remember that if you don’t care for yourself properly, you won’t be able to care for others. Neglecting yourself can lead to fatigue and depression, negatively affecting the quality of care you can provide your loved one.
Luckily, the Arkansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging has several services to help you find the resources you need to make caring for your loved one less stressful. Read on to learn more about our family caregiver support program and other available relief for family caregivers.
Family Caregiver Support Program
If you are caring for an elderly loved one, you may be eligible for our family caregiver support program. We offer financial help, in the form of grants, for family caregivers of senior citizens.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements?
Each family caregiver respite grant has its own requirements. While eligibility requirements may vary, most do require a specific diagnosis for your loved one. Others may require that your loved one meet certain age or location requirements. For more information about the grants for which you may qualify, contact your local Area Agency on Aging.
Suppose you help a family member with activities such as housework, transportation, meal prep, medication reminders, going to the doctor, getting dressed, or personal hygiene. In that case, you may qualify as a “caregiver” and therefore for the grant.
How Do I Apply for a Home Caregiver Grant?
To apply for the Family Caregiver Grant Program, you should reach out to your Area Agency on Aging, which will direct you to the proper application channel.
Family Caregiver Support Groups
We also provide support groups to help family caregivers network and give them respite from their day-to-day responsibilities. These support groups are offered at no cost to you, and many of them provide care for your elderly or disabled loved one while you are participating.
If your loved one needs care while you attend the support group, you may need to pre-register to ensure that care is available.
Caregiving can be an isolating experience for a lot of people. It can seem you spend all of your time, focus, and energy on providing the care your loved one needs. But you’re not alone—millions of Americans are in the same position.
Discussing your struggles with people who have been there or are currently in the same position can be a tremendous relief. It validates your experience and gives you the support and connections you need to process your emotions and refill your mental tank.
Caregiver support groups offer you a sense of empowerment and control. The support groups can help by reducing your feelings of isolation and anxiety, and help you build healthy coping mechanisms. You can also talk to caregivers whose loved ones have similar diagnoses to use their experiences to start planning for the future.
You may even get some helpful tips and tricks from your fellow caregivers that allow you to improve your care, giving your loved one a better quality of life.
Contact your Area Agency on Aging to find the nearest caregiver support group in your area. There may also be specialized groups for specific diagnoses, such as Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia like Parkinson’s.
What Is the Senior Care Act?
The Senior Care Act is a non-Medicaid program designed to help seniors stay in their homes longer through personal care. Certain family members may be eligible for “hire” as caregivers through this program, providing much-needed financial compensation for their time and resources.
The services covered may include attendant care, housework, meal prep, respite care, and adult day care.
How Do I Apply for Family Caregiver Support?
Contact your Area Agency on Aging to apply for family caregiver support. An Information and Assistance Specialist will connect you with the resources you need. They can also set you up with a Care Coordinator who will ensure you and your loved one receives all the care you need. From applying for benefits to scheduling appointments with the appropriate doctors, your Care Coordinator simplifies and streamlines your personalized care plan.
This service is offered at no cost to you through your Area Agency on Aging.
The National Family Caregiver Support Program
The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) also assists caregivers throughout the states. This may take the form of helping caregivers gain access to various assistance services, counseling and training services, or respite care services.
If you are 18 years or older and care for a family member who is 60 years or older, you may qualify for access to these programs and services in your state.
Find a Family Caregiver Support Program in Your Area
To find a family caregiver support program in your area, contact your Area Agency on Aging. Our mission is to help ensure that your loved ones can stay in their own home for as long as possible and receive the care they need to enjoy a better quality of life.
Part of that mission is also connecting you with the resources and programs you need to better care for your elderly loved one.