Working as a family caregiver is important, but it is also incredibly demanding. Usually you’re assisting a loved one on top of a full-time job and a family to care for, and unless you come from a medical background with experience working for elderly individuals, it may feel like you aren’t sure what needs to be done. Even though you want to do the work, it can be hard to tell if you’re doing the right thing.
If you are a family caregiver in the Washington, D.C. area, here are a few organizations and programs that can give you the support and education you need.
The Alzheimer’s Association can provide a variety of resources and tools for any caregiver working with a loved one suffering from memory loss or dementia. The National Capital Chapter has support groups, educational programs, early stage services, and professional training options for caregivers looking to improve upon the care they provide or receive emotional support.
The National Capital Chapter offers two programs designed specifically for the caregiver of an Alzheimer’s patient. The Living With Alzheimer’s: For Caregivers covers topics like care and treatment options, maximizing independence, and communicating and connecting. It also breaks down further to focus specifically on Early- Middle- and Late-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
The second caregiver-specific course offered by the Alzheimer’s Association is Legal and Financial Planning. This helps caregivers to understand the legal documents they will need to complete, help them find legal or financial assistance for additional support, and know what government programs can help them pay for care or services.
The Alzheimer’s Association also provides support in the form of a 24/7 Helpline, care consultation services, message boards, online educational programs, and a virtual library. For additional resources, visit the Caregiver Center.
The Office on Aging in Washington, D.C. can provide additional resources and support to caregivers and elderly individuals looking to understand their aging bodies. For example, the Lifespan Respite program, caregivers can receive additional financial support for respite care expenses, get referrals for respite care, and partake in bi-weekly online chats to ask questions or address issues or needs.
For caregivers of veterans in the Washington, D.C. areas, one of the best places to turn for caregiving support is the VA. With their Caregiver Support Line, you can call 1-855-260-3274 any time of the day for assistance, to ask a question, or to just talk with someone who understands what you’re going through.
Caregivers can also find support through the VA in the form of a Caregiver Support Coordinator, who can connect you with the service providers you need, and the Peer Support for Caregivers, a program designed to provide new family caregivers with a mentor.
The VA also offers caregiver services, including Adult Day Health Care Centers, Home-Based Primary Care, Skilled Home Care, Homemaker and Home Health Aide Program, Home Telehealth, Respite Care, and Home Hospice Care.
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