Something that makes adult caregiving so stressful is that it tends to be chronic and long-term in nature. This leads to caregiver stress and burnout even for the most dedicated caregivers. Over time, caregivers report feeling tired and run down, having trouble concentrating, feeling increasingly resentful, and that their own health is being compromised.
A 2009 AARP study proved this to be true. The study showed that of people who cared for senior loved ones for five years or more, 23% of them reported that their own health was fair or poor, compared to 15% of those who’d been giving care for shorter periods of time.
Registering a senior for adult day care or respite for one or more days of the week goes a long way towards giving the caregiver some much-needed rest and recuperation. Adult day programs also help the seniors by giving them age-appropriate activities, in addition to personal and medical care.
Riverside, California has a vibrant, active County Office on Aging, where they have an excellent reputation for their innovative community programs. From the bright idea logo to their core value of “the right to age with dignity,” the Riverside County Office on Aging serves Riverside’s aging population and their caregivers with the types of programs and services they need most. Their Care Pathways program won the Bright Idea award. The agency has received state and national recognition for their efforts from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging for Care Pathways and for Care Transitions Intervention Programs.
Caregivers who are looking for adult day care services will find help with a call to the 211 Senior Helplink line. The Senior Helplink is a helpline for seniors, adults with disabilities, family members, and professionals for referrals, senior education, and advocacy.
The program is run by the California Department on Aging. The goals of the department are to restore and maintain optimal capacity for self-care to frail elderly people and to delay or prevent admittance to nursing home facilities when seniors can successfully live independently in the community. The department uses a team approach to services that includes the participant, the family, the caregiver, the primary care physician and community services.
In addition to assisting senior caregivers with adult day care and respite, the helpline gives caregivers respite by helping them with supplemental services for personal care, homemaking services, meals, health care, employment, and legal services.
Specialists on the 211 line educate caregivers about programs, eligibility, current availability, and procedures to obtain additional services that will provide them with the opportunity to take a break from their caregiving duties.
One of the helpful programs is the Transportation Reimbursement Information Project (TRIP), a program that reimburses expenses to volunteer drivers who assist seniors with transportation to adult day care programs, doctor visits, and other errands.
The 211 Senior HelpLink is free of charge and offers bilingual specialists in Spanish and English. Interested caregivers can learn more about the program by calling (800) 510-2020.
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