If you have an elderly relative the chances are great that at some point you might have to provide care. It is fairly common for seniors to rely on their family members as they age and their health begins to decline. Being a caregiver can at times be overwhelming and the risk of burning out is high, especially if you don’t take breaks or ask for help. There is no need to worry about being a bad caregiver if you need to take a rest or bring in additional help, that makes you a better caregiver in the long run. Washington D.C. has a few services that can help support your caregiving duties.
Alzheimer’s is one of the most common diseases that requires a caregiver and family members are usually the ones who provide that care. This disease is also difficult for everyone involved to handle so it is especially important that use the support services created by the Alzheimer’s Association.
Joining a support group might be one of the simplest and most effective ways for caregivers to ease their burden. There are a few meetings in the Washington County area that you can attend and some places offer respite care so you can bring your family member along. These meetings allow caregivers to talk about their struggles and experiences as well as share support and resources.
The Greater Maryland chapter also has a lending library that is full of books, magazines, and DVD’s that can be helpful for caregivers and Alzheimer’s patients. It’s important to educate yourself about all the ups and downs of the diseases as well as how to effectively care for your family member. There is also an online library that allows you to look at books and resources right from your own home.
Sometimes it can be difficult to make it out to go to a meeting or an educational workshop which is why the Alzheimer’s Association created an online community. You can join message boards, participate in Google hangout sessions, and even listen to podcasts about Alzheimer’s and caregiving. You can check here for even more online resources.
The D.C. Office on Aging acts as the Area Agency on Aging and provides a few different caregiver support tools. There are live chat sessions scheduled regularly that allow you to talk with other caregivers in the area and share support and resources. You can also use the caregiver lifespan respite program that allows you to use respite care services while you take a break from your duties so you don’t burnout. You might be eligible to get funding for the respite program so contact the office at 202-724-5622 for more information.
It’s important to know that not only can veterans use their VA benefits for health services, their caregivers have resources through the VA as well. At the Washington, D.C. VA Medical Center, there are a variety of caregiver programs and services to make life a bit easier for you and your veteran.
Caregiver Support Line- Call and talk to a caregiver assistant who can help you learn more about services and programs available to you. They can also let you vent and listen to your issues if you just need someone to talk to.
Caregiver Support Coordinator- This trained professional will match you with services that you’re eligible for so you can get the best care possible.
Peer Support Mentoring Program- Gain experience and knowledge by pairing up with another caregiver and support and help one another.
Adult Day Care and Respite Care- If you need to run an errand or take a break you can use these services to make sure your loved one is cared for.
Homemaker Services- If your daily chores have been neglected because of your caregiving duties you can use these services to help out.
Skilled In-Home Care and Home Health Aides- Use these professionals to get medical and health care in the comfort of your own home.
Hospice Care- You can also get access to hospice care if needed.
To learn about these services call the local Caregiver Support Coordinator at 202-745-8000.
The District of Columbia Caregivers’ Institute was created by the Office on Aging to better help caregivers in the area. You can get access to services like in-home assessments, counseling, educational activities, and telephone support groups. There are a few requirements to be a part of this program so you can call 202-464-1513 to learn more.
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