Stress and burnout among senior caregivers is prevalent. AARP interviewed senior caregivers in a 2009 study and found that only 57% of caregivers rated their own health as being good or very good. The same study also found a higher incidence of poor health among caregivers who are Hispanic or have low incomes. Just over one-fourth (27%) of Hispanic caregivers indicated that their own health was fair or poor compared to 15% of white and Asian caregivers. These are important statistics given the high population of Hispanics and low-income families living in Albuquerque.
Caregivers looking for help to reduce the stress and burden associated with senior caregiving will find lots of help from the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department.
The New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department employs Care Coordinators who are available to visit seniors and their caregivers right in their homes to assess their needs and connect them with services, including respite and adult day care programs. This program is open to seniors aged 60 and over and their caregivers in Bernalillo County.
Care Coordinators speak with the family to determine their eligibility for services. In addition to adult day care and respite programs, coordinators will inform families about other services for meals, homemaking, medication management, mental health counseling, and companionship programs. Care coordinators will work with the family on follow-up so that the programs may be changed as their needs change.
Finding appropriate and affordable health care for seniors can substantially relieve the stress of senior caregiving. The University of New Mexico College of Nursing offers a variety of health care services for Albuquerque seniors aged 55 and over at senior health clinics in four of their senior centers. The program charges nominal fees for foot care and fitness physicals. The program has a twofold goal of assisting seniors in maintaining a healthy and independent living while training future nurses in the field of eldercare.
Seniors who have a family income that is below $30,000 annually are eligible for in-home respite. This program provides limited relief to full-time caregivers of frail, homebound seniors in Bernalillo County who are living with Alzheimer’s disease or symptoms of dementia.
Senior caregivers will find adult day care programs in seven locations throughout the city. The program is called Share Your Care Adult Day Services. The program offers a daily schedule of activities that are designed to improve the quality of life. Activities are designed to help clients who live with symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease in ways that give them choices and independence.
Programs include arts, crafts, exercise, dance, adaptive sports, yoga, music, cooking, and massage therapy. The program also offers cognitive classes, literacy training, and money management skills.
The program accepts private pay and offers a cost-sharing scale fee or suggested donation fee for families who are experiencing a financial hardship.
Find more information about senior caregiver services by calling (505) 764-6400.
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