Are you a care­giver? Try th­ese 7 re­sources

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Job Market -

When David Bowen’s fa­ther fell tak­ing out the trash in 2016, it set in mo­tion a se­ries of health chal­lenges the fam­ily is still bat­tling to­gether. Bowen, 62, hired a part-time pro­fes­sional care­giver to as­sist his fa­ther and his mother, who was bat­tling Alzheimer’s, but he found him­self serv­ing as a care­giver much of the time, too.

The 2018 North­west­ern Mu­tual C.A.R.E. Study re­vealed that two of three care­givers re­duce their liv­ing ex­penses to pay for the med­i­cal and prac­ti­cal needs of their loved ones, yet nearly half of fu­ture care­givers said they have made no fi­nan­cial plans to pre­pare.

While this can be chal­leng­ing, care­givers take im­mense pride in this vi­tal role, and most wouldn’t trade the op­por­tu­nity. In fact, a re­cent Mer­rill Lynch-Age Wave study found that 91 per­cent of care­givers feel grate­ful to care for some­one and 77 per­cent would do it again.

Care­givers need and de­serve sup­port as they nav­i­gate a de­mand­ing, emo­tional and crit­i­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity. The good news is there are re­sources and ser­vices like the fol­low­ing that can help make life as a care­giver a bit eas­ier.

CARE­GIVER RE­SOURCE LIST

The Na­tional Fam­ily Care­giver Sup­port Pro­gram of­fers med­i­cal, emo­tional, fi­nan­cial and le­gal ad­vice and train­ing to adult fam­ily mem­bers who pro­vide in-home and com­mu­nity care for peo­ple aged 60 or older and to peo­ple older than 55 who care for chil­dren un­der 18.

AARP’s Care­giver Re­source Cen­ter of­fers guides for first-time care­givers, fam­i­lies and those who care for a loved one at home. Th­ese in­clude fi­nan­cial and le­gal con­sid­er­a­tions and ad­vice on how to main­tain care­giver­life bal­ance.

While the Ad­min­is­tra­tion for Com­mu­nity Liv­ing doesn’t work di­rectly with in­di­vid­u­als, it can be a good place for a care­giver to start on the cir­cuitous path to fi­nan­cial sup­port. The or­ga­ni­za­tion pro­vides funds to help older adults and peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties live where they choose to for as long as they can, and has pro­vided bil­lions of dol­lars to pro­grams in ev­ery state.

Unit­edHealth­care proac­tively ad­dresses care­giver needs by shar­ing rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion and re­sources. Its So­lu­tions for Care­givers pro­gram, for ex­am­ple, is a web­site for el­i­gi­ble mem­bers to get ad­vice from med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als, fi­nan­cial ad­vis­ers and ex­pe­ri­enced care man­agers; take ad­van­tage of dis­counted prod­ucts and

ser­vices; and ac­cess ed­u­ca­tional re­sources.

Non-mem­bers can find a di­rec­tory of or­ga­ni­za­tions that fo­cus on is­sues in­clud­ing Parkin­son’s dis­ease, sub­stance abuse, blind­ness, MS, Alzheimer’s and di­a­betes.

The Na­tional Al­liance for Care­giv­ing fo­cuses on care­giv­ing re­search, in­no­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy, state and local care­giv­ing coali­tions, and in­ter­na­tional car­ing. It is work­ing to build a global net­work of care­giver sup­port or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The Care­giver Ac­tion Net­work (CAN) serves a broad spec­trum of fam­ily care­givers, rang­ing from par­ents of chil­dren with spe­cial needs, to fam­i­lies and friends of wounded sol­diers, to adult chil­dren car­ing for ag­ing par­ents. Aim­ing to pro­mote re­source­ful­ness and re­spect for the more than 90 mil­lion fam­ily care­givers across the coun­try, CAN pro­vides free ed­u­ca­tion, peer sup­port and re­sources.

The Elder­care Lo­ca­tor, a pub­lic ser­vice of the U.S. Ad­min­is­tra­tion on Ag­ing, pro­vides a search tool that al­lows visi­tors to search by topic and lo­ca­tion for ser­vices per­tain­ing to older adults and their fam­i­lies.

“Dad and I, we’re try­ing to put a new life to­gether for him, and it’s tough,” said Bowen. “But sup­port from all over has kept me on my feet and mov­ing for­ward. Amid all the chal­lenges, I am grate­ful for that.”

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