The entry into a senior family caregiving is often a slow entrance, as family members begin to take on some of the duties of caring for an elderly friend or family member. The start of duties can be so minimal in the beginning, that most people who provide eldercare have not even thought about their role as being a true caregiver. It’s only after duties increase that caregivers notice a negative impact on their own health and lives when they recognize that caregiving is a role, as well as a responsibility. It’s this recognition that drives many caregivers to look for help and benefits for themselves. Here’s where to find help in the Chicagoland area:
The Illinois chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association offers classes for caregivers who provide in-home care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. These classes were developed by the University of Minnesota. The classes equip caregivers to better understand the disease, gain skills to assess someone’s abilities, gain confidence in setting caregiving goals, manage daily care for persons with dementia, take better care of themselves, and build quality partnerships with healthcare professionals. Classes are free of charge and meet for two hours for six consecutive weeks.
The Greater Illinois Chapter of Alzheimer’s Association offers over 90 support groups in the Chicago area and suburbs. Groups are held either online or at area sites and provide peer support for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Trained facilitators lead regularly scheduled groups. Some groups include educational programs. For more information on registering for facilitator training or to attend a support group in your area, call (800) 272-3900.
The Greater Illinois Chapter of Alzheimer’s Association also offers a telephone support group for people who care for another person with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The monthly calls provide a forum for connecting with others who face the same challenges, sharing insights, and sharing knowledge of community resources. Interested persons may contact Care Navigator, Richard Apple at (815) 484-1300.
Family caregivers can find a wealth of resources for themselves and those they care for by contacting the Illinois Area Agencies on Aging. The Illinois Department on Aging has set up partnerships with 12 not-for-profit corporations and the City of Chicago to cover all areas of the state in accordance with the Older American’s Act regulations. Area Agencies plan and coordinate services and programs for older residents and their caregivers in their respective areas. The Illinois Department on Aging provides funding for the agencies based upon the number of older citizens, number of minorities, number of impoverished families, people living in rural areas, and elderly people who live alone.
Arch National Respite Network provides an online resource for finding respite providers and programs in the Chicago area that offer a break for elder caregivers who are stressed and need time to manage their own lives. The site also gives information about funding and eligibility, as well as additional resources.
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