A large number of the population is rapidly aging thanks to baby boomers entering retirement age and as seniors get older they start to rely on family members for their care. Being a caregiver for a family member can be a big job and often leads to burnout if you aren’t also taking care of your health and well-being. As the number of caregivers grows so does the number of services and programs to help make their job easier and avoid being drained. Oklahoma City has plenty to offer caregivers and here is just a highlight of a few of these services.
While being a caregiver in any form can be difficult, taking care of a family member with Alzheimer’s or any other form of memory loss can be even tougher. It’s important that you reach out for help when you need it so you can effectively take care of your loved one and yourself.
If you’re new to being a caregiver for Alzheimer’s, you might want to consider taking the Professional Caregiver Training offered by the Oklahoma chapter. This course will go over the basics of caregiving, direct care technique, and spotting the difference between aging and memory loss. After the training is complete you will be certified in Dementia Specific Training.
You can also join a support group in your area and connect with other caregivers. There are a few different groups that meet around the Oklahoma City area and they meet at different times to accommodate a variety of schedules. Support groups are important because they give you a chance to talk about the struggles of caregiving as well as share experiences and resources.
If you can’t get to a meeting or there are no local events in your area, you can always connect with other caregivers online. There are message boards, 24/7 helplines, and even Google hangouts that you can participate in to get the support you need as a caregiver.
The Areawide Aging Agency located in Oklahoma City is a good resource for local caregiver support. You can find support groups that meet in your city as well as attend workshops and presentations through Sunbeam Family Services all about caregiving. The agency also has a grant program for families that need respite care but might not be able to afford it. You can call 405-321-3200 for more information.
Veterans and their caregivers can both receive help and support from the Oklahoma City VA Health Care System in Oklahoma City. There are programs that are just for supporting caregivers in their role and include things like:
Caregiver Support Coordinator- You can talk with a trained professional who will guide you through all the health care services and let you know which ones you’re eligible to use.
Caregiver Support Line- Call this line at any time to get help with VA services, find answers to caregiving problems, or just talk with someone who understands what it takes to be a caregiver.
Peer Support Mentoring Program- If you’re new to caregiving this is a good program to use because you will be paired with another caregiver who can help you through the process and share their knowledge and support.
There are also a few services that caregivers can use for their family members to help out:
Respite Care and Adult Day Care- If you need to run errands, attend an appointment, or take a break from your duties these are good options.
Homemaker services- Someone can help you with your daily chores and errands so you can take care of your veteran.
Skilled Care and Health Aides- If your loved one needs specific medical care but can’t or won’t go to a facility you can have someone provide care in your own home.
Hospice Care- When it’s time you can have hospice services come to your house.
To learn more about these programs you can call the local Caregiver Support Coordinator at 405-456-1000.
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services as an aging services division that can help caregivers find resources for their family members. There is information on senior nutrition, transportation, adult day services, personal care, and legal assistance. If you want to find out more about these services you can call the director, Lance Robertson, at 405-521-2281.
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