Where to Find Volunteer Caregiver Help
In the U.S. alone, 34.2 million people provide caregiving help to senior loved ones. Many of them are balancing what amounts to a part-time job of caring for a parent with other family and professional responsibilities.
Family caregiving doesn’t come with paychecks or vacation. You have to be on for long hours every day, taking care of a list of tasks and chores that much of society doesn’t really appreciate you for. It’s a lot! For the sake of your own mental and physical health and for the good of the people who depend on your care, you have to find a way to give yourself a break.
How to Find Caregiver Help
That can be tricky if paid care is out of reach. If that’s the case, you can still find help from volunteer caregivers.
Here are a few resources to check out to find someone who can step in so you can get that well-needed break:
Elder Helpers allows volunteers to create profiles sharing information about themselves and the types of caregiving they’re happy to help with. Seniors can create profiles as well, providing information on what they need and looking for volunteers who are a good fit. Volunteers provide services like cleaning, cooking, entertainment and reading. Sign up for the website and start seeing who’s available to help out in your area.
2. Local Organizations
Many local communities have organizations that serve the seniors who live in that particular community. Groups like Caregivers in Ventura County, California, the Center for Volunteer Caregiving in Wake County, North Carolina, and Volunteer Caregivers in Albany, Oregon, all exist specifically to help out family caregivers and seniors in need in those areas. Do some searching online to see if your community has a caregiving organization as well.
Lotsa Helping Hands is a system that makes it easy for you to enlist people in your friend and family group to fill in for any caregiving help you can provide. It won’t set you up with strangers willing to volunteer their time, but you may not need that once you’ve found a better way to tap into your own community – and your senior loved one may prefer receiving help from people you already know and trust.
It works by letting you list specific needs you’ll have on a calendar you can share with a community of people you’ve invited to join the site. They’ll see what’s needed on which day and figure out where they’re able to pitch in with help you actually need. Once one friend offers to take on one of the tasks you’ve put on the shared care calendar, the color will change to alert others that this task is taken care of so nobody ends up doubling up on the same work.
If you have people in your life who express a desire to help, but you often have a hard time knowing what to ask them for, this program makes it much easier to share your responsibilities without worrying about being a burden on anybody since everything they do, they’ve volunteered for.
4. National Volunteer Caregiving Network
The National Volunteer Caregiving Network provides a directory of local programs that help match volunteers with those in need of caregiving. You can browse the listings to see what programs are available in your area and read the details of what each one offers. Some of them are limited to one or two specific types of services, like delivering food or doctor’s rides. But others provide a wider range of volunteer caregiving services that can help you get more of the chores and errands you need taken care of.
You can’t do everything yourself all the time. If you can find the resources to move some of your current responsibilities to someone else willing to help, it will provide room in your life for more self-care and ensure you’re doing the rest of the work that falls on your shoulders better. See if you can find help whether from friends and family or helpful strangers in your community. You deserve whatever break you can get.