Family members who take care of a sick or elderly loved one have a difficult job, but it’s also an important one. As family members and loved ones age and family members are called on to provide care it’s important to utilize the resources provided in the area by non-profit groups, health care systems, city and county agencies, and state programs to help. Caregivers need to access support that allows them to take breaks when they need it, and maintain their own health. In Jacksonville, you can look to these four agencies for assistance and support programs for caregivers.
The Central and North Florida Chapter of the national Alzheimer’s Association offers services and support to over 30 counties in the state. The local Jacksonville office services those diagnosed with the disease, their caregivers, families, and medical professionals in the surrounding 9-county area. The office has education programs, support groups, and resources to help caregivers with their duties. These are a few programs caregivers can participate in.
Monthly support groups offer educational, emotional, and social support for caregivers and are held at several locations in Jacksonville. Groups meet for 1-2 hours monthly or bi-monthly and have anywhere from 4-12 members who share resources and experiences.
When you need help outside of a regular meeting, you can contact the 24-hour helpline by phone at (800) 272-3900. Tech savvy caregivers can also log online to the Alzheimer’s Association’s message boards for assistance day and night.
Through Caregiver College the Alzheimer’s Association offers an array of education programs designed to help caregivers find the best way to help their loved one. Topics can include things like “Understanding and Responding to Dementia-Related Behavior” and “Living with Alzheimer’s: For Caregivers.” For information on events in your area, and to register, call (800) 272-3900.
The Area Agency on Aging and Aging & Disability Resource Center for Northeast Florida, ElderSource, serves over 12,000 area seniors, their caregivers, and their families annually. They network with providers in the area and are able to offer information, referrals, assistance, and answers to caregivers on any aging-related issues. For questions on respite care, case management, planning the long-term care of your loved one, health insurance, nutrition assistance, Medicaid, and other senior issues contact them by phone at 888.242.4464 or in person at the office located at 10688 Old St. Augustine Road.
The VA provides veterans with many benefits, including resources to help their caregivers provide a high quality of care. Coordinated through the North/Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, the local Jacksonville VA Community Clinic has programs that can help like:
peer support groups a 24/7 support hotline through the VA (855) 260-3274 respite care centers and adult day care programs in Jacksonville agencies that provide in-home respite care primary care and pharmacy services provided in the home help in the home for the caregiver provided by skilled nursing staff, home health aides, and homemakers hospice care and support for terminal seniors and their families
To find out if your loved one is eligible and to learn more about services available, call the caregivers support coordinator at 352-376-1611.
The Florida Department of Elder Affairs manages the senior programs in the state, including the licensing of adult day care and nursing home facilities, as well as Medicaid programs that may help to pay for respite care. For assistance call their toll-free elder helpline at 1-800-963-5337.
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