Senior caregiving is one of the toughest jobs that you’ll ever love. It’s a job that easily brings as many rewards as it brings challenges. Beginning a caregiver relationship is a partnership between the caregiver and the senior.
Relationships work best when both parties are willing to give and receive. In the senior caregiver partnership, seniors do best when they don’t feel like they are a burden to their caregivers. Caregivers do best when they bridge the gap between providing needed services while allowing the senior to function as independently as they can. Quality caregiving also means identifying all of the senior’s needs, including helping them meet social and emotional needs. Overall, the key to an effective relationship between seniors and their caregivers is communication. Here are a few tips for communicating with seniors:
Talk about it. Air any unspoken needs and wants.
Express gratitude for the things you appreciate about one another.
Communicate with each other about what is needed and what isn’t, and respect that.
Most caregivers find that giving full-time care without a break leads to stress and frustration. Ultimately, caregiver burnout can lead to a lower quality of care. The Nashville area offers several agencies, organizations, and programs that substantially help caregivers. It pays to do some research to find local programs and services that help seniors and the people who care for them.
The state of Tennessee developed the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability as a resource for Tennessee’s seniors, their families, and caregivers to help seniors live in their homes and communities for the longest time possible.
The state of Tennessee takes advantage of the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP), a federal program that provides grants to states to help caregivers provide services to seniors in their homes. The NFCSP was authorized under the Older Americans Act Amendment of 2000.
The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability offers supplemental services to seniors age 60 and older and individuals with Alzheimer’s and related disorders. Services may be limited based on qualifications, age, budget, and service area. Potential services include:
Home delivered meals Medical equipment and supplies Minor home modification Personal response systems Services for grandparents caring for children and young adults
Another important resource for senior caregivers is the Greater Nashville Regional Council on Area Agency on Aging and Disability, which serves the greater Nashville metropolitan region. The program works in conjunction with the following agencies that serve Nashville’s seniors:
Area Agency on Aging and Disability (AAAD) Mid-Cumberland Area Development Corporation (MADC) Economic and Community Development Local and Regional Planning Middle Tennessee Tourism Council (MTTC)
Caregivers may reach this program by calling (615)-862-8828 to receive services such as:
Healthcare and nutrition Home based services Healthcare insurance Family caregiving Senior rights Transportation Senior Centers Health and wellness Volunteer opportunities
Senior caregivers may not be able to access all of the services they need using state and local services due to budgeting issues or lack of service in an area. Prudent senior caregivers will look beyond what state and local social services provide to find quality caregiving services in the private sector.
SeniorAdvisor.com is a comprehensive site that is dedicated to helping family members and other senior caregivers identify the best senior services for their needs. The site is easy to navigate with multiple ways to search for full or part-time caregiver, assisted living, nursing care, and dementia care. The site also offers a search function that allows caregivers to find specific services by category.
SeniorAdvisor.com lists 16 Nashville area in-home caregiving providers for consumers to review. Unlike private websites, SeniorAdvisor offers a first-person look at various services, allowing the consumer to make an informed comparison. Consumers rate services that they’ve used and write personal reviews about their experiences with the facility and staff. SeniorAdvisor.com’s annual “Best Awards” gives the highest ranking to providers that consistently rate in the top 1% of providers. Cost should never be the sole determining factor in choosing a provider. SeniorAdvisor.com offers information about quality caregiving programs that fit the budget of the payer.
Most caregivers learn that they need services from more than one program to fully meet the needs of the senior that they care for. Search for services from all sites and programs to develop an individualized care program that meets all of the health, personal care, transportation, socialization, emotional, and housing needs that the senior has. Becoming familiar with senior programs sets the stage for changing needs as seniors age.
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