Acting as a family caregiver can be a challenging job. It requires time, skill, and above all, patience. It’s important to take a break every now and then, but it’s not always possible to leave a loved one home alone. Luckily, there are several agencies and organizations that are dedicated to helping Wichita residents provide quality care for elderly friends and relatives.
The Central and Western Kansas chapter of the national Alzheimer’s Association strives to provide support for patients, caregivers and families living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Educational outreach programs teach informal caregivers the basics of dementia care, while peer-to-peer support groups offer guidance, companionship and a sympathetic ear.
Caregivers who need a short break can look into the Central and Western Kansas Respite Assistance Program to find affordable, temporary skilled care for their loved one. The program helps to pay for respite services through the RCR Memorial Golf Tournament, Bogner Grant and the IIIA Older American Act. Call 1-800-272-3900 or access the online Alzheimer’s Association forums to find out more about support programs near you.
The Central Plains Area Agency on Aging connects Wichita families with services that help them to provide care for their loved ones through the Family Caregiver Support Program. Caregivers who look after a friend or relative over the age of 60 may be eligible to access a variety of support services, including:
• Caregiver counseling and peer support groups that help families cope with the stress of senior care
• Options counseling for families that are looking into local long-term care agencies
• Homemaker services that assist with daily living activities and lend a hand around the house
• Respite care for caregivers who need a short vacation
You can contact the Central Plains Area Agency on Aging by calling 316-660-5120 or by visiting their office at 2622 W. Central, Suite 500.
If you look after a veteran, you can turn to the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center for caregiving support. Families may be eligible to receive anything from a help at home to hospice care services. Your local Caregiver Support Coordinator can tell you more about veterans benefits and support programs:
• Peer support groups allow caregivers to exchange ideas, information and advice.
• Adult day centers watch seniors while their caregivers work, care for children, or tend to other personal matters. • Home respite care workers watch seniors while their caregivers take a short break or vacation.
• Home health aides, home-based primary care and skilled home nursing care provide varying degrees of medical assistance for housebound veterans.
• Telehealth services help families to care for their loved one remotely.
• Homemaking services assist caregivers with errands and chores around the house.
• Home hospice services provide palliative care for seniors who are in their final weeks of life.
• The VA National Caregiver Support Hotline, at 1-855-260-3274, helps caregivers to learn about and access supportive services.
Wichita seniors and their caregivers can contact the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Commission on Aging to locate nearby care providers, respite services, and other support programs. Families can also learn more about covering the costs of senior care through Medicare or Kansas Medicaid. You can reach the main KDADS office by calling 785-296-4986, or call 785-291-3167 to access TTY services.
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