The population is aging fast and with the larger number of seniors needing healthcare, family members are stepping up to take care of them. Whether you have always been the caregiver for your elderly loved one or you’re new to the job, you should know that there are plenty of resources available in your area to make your duties easier and more manageable. You can use local programs created by non-profit groups and your city or you could even take advantage of some resources offered by the state of Florida. Either way, it’s important to know that you aren’t alone and you have help.
The Alzheimer’s Association is a large organization that provides resources, training seminars, and educational tools to thousands of patients and their families across the country. The Central and North Florida chapter serves over 31 counties in Florida and offer support not only to Alzheimer’s patients but their caregivers as well. Here are just a few resources you can use:
You can enroll in the Caregiver College to learn how to be an effective caregiver to your loved one. This is a great learning opportunity for those caregivers who are new to their duties. You can check the chapter calendar to see when these classes meet.
The Caregiver Cafe is a good way to take a break from your duties and meet up with other caregivers in your area. You can enjoy dinner, connect with other caregivers, and share support. There is respite care available for your loved ones so you can travel to these meetings.
Along with support groups, there are plenty of online tools for caregivers. You can find a local support group that meets in your area and at a time that is convenient for your schedule. You can also visit the caregiver resource page online to take part in message boards, learn new information about being an Alzheimer’s caregiver, and connect in chat rooms.
ElderSource acts as the Area Agency on Aging for the Jacksonville community. You can find programs like SHINE (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Elders), SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), and Medicaid counseling. They can also put you in touch with other programs and resources in the area that are specifically for caregivers like counseling services and respite care. You can call 1-888-242-4464 to find out more information.
If your loved one is a veteran then you can use the VA Health System to help find support in your role as a caregiver. There is a medical center that is located in Jacksonville that offers outpatient services, but you can also use the numerous caregiver resources offered by the VA. These include things like:
Caregiver Support Line. This telephone line is available 24/7 and trained professionals can help you can access to medical services, find you a caregiver support coordinator, or just listen to your problems.
Caregiver Support Coordinator. This trained professional can help you learn what programs you and your loved one are eligible for.
Peer Support. You can be paired up with another caregiver in your area to give each other support and act as a mentor to one another.
Use caregiver services that include things like adult day care or respite care if you need a break.
Find homemaker services and home health aides near you to help with your duties.
Find skilled home nurses or hospice care if that’s needed.
If you want to learn more about these services or find out what you can use, you can call 352-376-1611 and speak with the caregiver support coordinator.
Caregivers can also find assistance through the Department of Elder Affairs. You can find local programs, get financial assistance if you qualify, and use services like the companion care program or in-home health care. Call the elder helpline at 1-800-963-5337 to learn more about benefits and apply for services.
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