Taking Care of Caregivers: 10 Support Services and Networks You Need to Know

Being a caregiver is a challenging and selfless role that often goes unnoticed. Finding Support and resources can make a significant difference in the wellbeing of caregivers. If you’re a caregiver, it’s essential about the various support services and networks available to you. Here are ten must know support services and networks that can help ease the burden and provide valuable assistance to caregivers:

Types of Support Services for Caregivers

Connecting with other caregivers facing similar challenges can provide a sense of understanding and camaraderie. Local support groups offer a safe space to share experiences, exchange advice, and find emotional support. There are many online and in person including; The National Institute on Aging, The CDC, the National Alliance on Caregiving, and AARP are all great resources to start with for caregivers seeking help and interaction with other caregivers. 

For caregivers who help a patient with more common chronic illnesses, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the Alzheimer’s Association has lots of information that can be utilized by caregivers. Additionally, below we outline our top 10 support services and networks you need to know.

#1: Online Forums and Communities:

The digital age has brought about a plethora of online platforms where caregivers can connect, share stories, and seek advice from the comfort of their homes. Websites like Caregiver Action Network and AgingCare offer active forums for caregivers to interact. 

#2: National Caregiver Support Helplines:

Various organizations, such as the Family Caregiver Alliance and AARP, provide toll-free helplines staffed by professionals who can offer guidance and resources to caregivers in need of immediate assistance.

#3: Respite Care Services:

Caregivers often neglect their own well-being. Respite care services offer temporary relief by providing professional caregivers who can step in to care for your loved one, allowing you to take needed breaks and recharge.

#4: Educational Workshops and Webinars:

Many organizations offer workshops and webinars designed to equip caregivers with valuable skills and knowledge. Topics can range from medical care and legal considerations to self-care and stress management.

#5: Home Health Agencies:

These agencies provide a range of in-home healthcare services, from medical care to assistance with daily tasks. Engaging their services can ease the caregiving burden and ensure your loved one’s needs are met. Home healthcare includes skilled nursing care as well as other skilled care services, like physical and occupational therapy, speech language therapy, and medical social services. The goal of short-term home healthcare is to offer aid in the home taking a load off for caregivers.

#6: Counseling and Therapy:

Caregiving is emotionally and physically draining. One of the most common types of support services for caregivers is counseling. Professional counseling or therapy sessions offer a safe space to address the emotional toll of caregiving and develop healthy coping strategies.

Caregiving therapy can help alleviate many negative feelings and help in various ways like: making sense of your emotions, learning about personal areas for improvement, discussing uncomfortable topics, receiving unbiased tips and tricks, and developing healthier relationships. Some affordable options are GoodTherapy, Psychology Today, Open Path Collective, and NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

Other commonly accessible online therapy sites include BetterHelp, 7 Cups, and Talkspace.

#7: Financial and Legal Advisors:

Navigating the financial and legal aspects of caregiving can be complex. Seeking guidance from experts in these fields can help you make informed decisions and alleviate potential stressors.

#8: Hospice and Palliative Care Services:

For caregivers providing end-of-life care, hospice and palliative care services offer specialized support to ensure your loved one’s comfort and dignity during their final days.

Being a caregiver is a noble role, so it’s important to remember that seeking support is a strength, not a weakness. Utilizing these resources can be a significant aid in your caregiving journey. Taking care of caregivers is Essential for their wellbeing and wellbeing of those they care for.

#9: Caregiver Coaching:

Caregiving coaching is an online service from professionals who can coach up caregivers, helping them improve their efficiency. Websites like CareAcademy offer scenario driven based training videos you can watch on your phone and can schedule in person training, so give them a look to see if they operate in your state. 

#10: Caregiver Applications (Apps):

In the modern age, there’s an app for almost everything. And that includes streamlining caregiving responsibilities. Caregiver-specific apps can help you manage medications, appointments, and communicate with other family members involved in the care.

Here are some apps that AARP recommends: 

  • Carely: a social network–like app ideal for tag-team caregiving, as it allows invited individuals to communicate and coordinate caregiver responsibilities and track activities and appointments via a shared calendar. 
  • Care Village: lets you create a custom “village,” or team, to coordinate care activities like arranging transportation and meals. You can include as many people as you want — family, friends, neighbors, care professionals — and easily assign roles to team members with secure in-app messaging, shareable to-do lists and other features. – Lotsa Helping Hands: you can communicate appointment information; schedule meals, rides and visits; and solicit help by posting requests. You can also blast announcements and updates, receive messages from loved ones, and share photos from this one app instead of dealing with multiple calls, emails and texts.

Additionally, consider emerging and new communication and collaborative platforms such as Ursamin. Ursamin offers many of the functionalities that the recommended applications do but it also allows you access to medical information, notes, and updates by storing them in one central place. 

Being a caregiver comes with plenty of challenging everyday obstacles, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t help out there for you to use. Caregiving is a central part of the caregiving process – and deserves more advocacy. Read more about this in: The Unseen Labor of Caregivers: A Discussion on the AARP Report.Next

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