As the aging person's health declines and the duties of the senior caregiver increase, caregivers may isolate themselves. The caregiver may begin to feel extreme stress as they attempt to manage a second household in addition to their own. One in four households provide full-time, unpaid care to a dependent senior. Senior programs in the state of Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia can offer assistance in the way of adult day care and respite so that adult caregivers can take a much needed break. Counseling and support groups provide a forum for senior caregivers to share their challenges and experiences so they don't feel so alone.
If you are caring for a spouse, parent, relative or friend, you are not alone. Thousands of Philadelphians provide full-time, unpaid care to a dependent adult. This can be physically and emotionally challenging, especially when the care recipient has behavioral problems or is too ill to recognize or appreciate you. There are resources available, including respite care, adult day care centers, financial assistance, education and support groups that can provide emotional support and practical information.
The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) was founded in 1973 and has become the fourth largest of the Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). It is the largest AAA in Pennsylvania. The agency formed under the Older Americans Act to serve the over 290,000 people who are 60 years or older. The goal of the agency is to improve senior’s lives by helping them achieve quality of life by supporting health, independence, and productivity. PCA uses funding from the federal government, the Pennsylvania lottery, medical assistance, grants, donations, and state funds to coordinate a broad range of senior and caregiver services.
Most caregivers are surprised when they discover that a few services like respite or help with transportation allows them to rest enough that it drastically reduces their burden. The Caregiver Support Program can help. They return to caregiving duties feeling refreshed and recharged. Philadelphia seniors are twice as likely to live in poverty as other seniors in the state and in the nation, which makes caregiver services a valuable commodity.
Caregivers may arrange for respite services in the senior's home or at an adult day care center which allows the caregiver time to work or tend to their own personal needs. PCA may even be able to arrange for overnight or weekend stays.
Caregivers can get a break from caregiving for one or more days by registering the person they care for at an adult day care center. The senior will be cared for in a safe and protected environment by licensed and caring professionals. Most seniors find that they enjoy the center's activities, as well as getting out and socializing with others.
PCA offers caregivers educational classes in Alzheimer's disease, dementia, senior caregiving, and other eldercare workshops. Caregivers have the opportunity to attend support groups where they can share their challenges and experiences with other caring individuals who share a similar journey.
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