Ideally, your community offers services that assist caregivers with multi-tasking routines for loved ones. Hospitals, clinics, childcare facilities, schools, and retail stores are key components of many communities. These services may be a short travel distance from work or home and may (in urban areas) be accessible by public transportation. Many healthcare centers, caregiving support centers, and hospitals employ bilingual staff and may have diversity programs for many different cultures. In short, communities often have many resources for caregivers. The challenge can be finding them.
Being able to find the right resources locally to meet your needs can help reduce the stress on you and the ones you love.
Making a List of Services
If you’re providing care for a loved one, how do you locate caregiving services that not only meet your needs, but are easily accessible? Start by making a list of your loved one’s needs as well as your own. Next, prioritize these tasks in terms of the greatest need and importance. You’ll see that some tasks require daily attention, while others may have to be addressed weekly or monthly. These services may include:
Sometimes the needs of your loved one as well as the number of choices for satisfying those needs are overwhelming. However, with your list in hand, you have a plan to evaluate local services that best suit your loved one’s needs, as well as your schedule and budget. Once you have your list of needs, you may want to make notes to help you better prioritize the service. You may wish to consider the:
Finding Specific Resources
Once you’ve completed your assessment of services and the associated expenses, you’ll be better prepared to explore the most appropriate types of resources to assist you. And remember—when contacting any resource, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Your Doctor’s Office
Speak to your loved one’s physician and any other healthcare providers about your concerns, issues, or needs related to care. Often these professionals are the patient’s first-line of care and can be helpful in counseling you on services available in your community.
Federal, state, and local agencies often provide affordable resources and services. When contacting these agencies, be sure to ask if any costs are associated with the service, and if so, are they covered by Medicare.
Most churches, synagogues, mosques and other faith-based institutions have health ministries that offer a variety of services for caregivers and their loved ones. Services range from providing volunteers to assist with transportation and household chores to offering time off for the caregiver. If your religious organization is unable to assist you, often they can refer you to another association in the community to meet your needs. For more information on caregiving resources from faith-based organizations contact:
Hospitals and Health Clinics
Look to hospitals in your area for hospital-based and free-standing satellite clinics offering care for mental health conditions and specific diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, asthma, and HIV/AIDS. Also contact the social work departments based in hospitals and community health clinics to help you identify resources in your community.
Your local library, senior centers, local or regional affiliates of national organizations offer resources on culturally relevant health education and intervention programs, as well as home-delivery food programs, among others. Here are just a few examples:
Additional Online Resources
The Internet is a comprehensive resource to find assistance on many subjects related to caregiving, health benefits, housing, long-term care, and others. Often you can start with the national offices, and then look for the agency’s location in your area. Here are a few sites offering information on a broad range of topics: