Becoming a family caregiver often means feeling all consumed with taking care of a loved one. It can mean spending 24/7 caring for someone else in addition to raising your own family, working, or balancing all areas of life. Respite provides caregivers a break from their daily responsibilities. If you aren’t one of the 66 million people taking care of a loved one, chances are you WILL be a caregiver at least once in your lifetime.
I’m sure you’ll agree that every caregiver needs a caregiver — someone who will care for your loved one for a few hours, days or weeks, so they can take care of themselves. Caregivers often feel exhaustipated. Yes, it’s a thing!
In this article, I’m sharing the most comprehensive caregiver respite guide and caregiver support options available. Do you ever feel like this?
Maybe you are the adult but you could use more hands. Respite is good for you and your loved one because it gives you time to think and be separate from your care receiver and it gives your loved one social integration with others. An individual can receive respite care from paid staff, volunteers, family or friends. Care can happen at home, a community organization or a residential care center for part of the day, evening or overnight, or on a regular basis.
Did you know?
- Being too busy to track down respite care is a sign that you need a break.
- A break now can prevent burnout later. Self-care is the new healthcare!
- Respite care can be covered by insurance or an agency such as the Department of Veterans Affairs or Medicare. Volunteer help is available and groups such as faith-based organizations; local, state and federal agencies; and some insurance plans are making it easier to afford respite care.
Respite can cover a wide range of services based on the unique needs of the caregiver. My goal is that you feel this way:
— Tandy Elisala (@DrTandy) September 22, 2018
Respite for the caregiver might include:
- Giving the caregiver a short break for a doctor’s appointment or to go shopping
- Allowing the caregiver the opportunity to nap, bathe, or otherwise fuel their self-care tank
- A break to attend church, see a movie or take a day trip
- Taking a much-needed vacation
- Pampering oneself with a hair appointment, manicure, facial or massage
- Visiting friends or other family members
I focused this article on respite resources that are generally available
across the United States.
Finding In-Home and Residential Respite Services
Search for home care services near you by using this online community resource finder.
A Place for Mom (APFM) is dedicated to being a comprehensive senior living resource. They provide valuable information, resources, and best-in-class customer service to families and partners.
The organization provides respite care, telephone visitors, in-home visitors, nursing home visitors, home health aides, support groups, adult day care, and information and referrals for accessing other services available in the community. Services vary by center.
Ourparents.com is another site with a great overview of all senior living options.
Easter Seals provides a variety of services at 400 sites nationwide for children and adults with disabilities, including adult day care, in-home care, camps for special needs children, and more. Services vary by site.
Caregiver Respite and Support Resources
National Respite Organizations
When you join the National Respite Network you are automatically a member of the National Respite Coalition, the Policy Division of the ARCH National Respite Network, and can receive the latest updates on Congressional legislative activity important to respite and the families you serve.
This site links to respite providers and programs and state by state fact sheets on funding and program eligibility. It also includes contacts for the state respite coalition and the Lifespan Respite grantee.
The REST program – an evidence-based respite-training program – provides the skills and tools needed to provide quality respite.
State Respite Registries
Find programs and services that allow caregivers to get a break from caring for a loved one. Search for Respite Providers and Programs, Respite Funding and general Family Caregiver and Consumer Information.
Additional Resources for Finding Respite in your Community
- State Respite Registries
- State Respite Coalitions
- State Lifespan Respite Programs
- National Family Caregiver Support Program
- Respite for Veterans
For older adults, ACL’s Eldercare Locator is a great place to start. Call 800-677-1116 to be connected with your local Area Agency on Aging or Aging and Disability Resource Center. Those organizations can help you understand what services are available in your community.
Online Caregiver Support Tools
Here are online tools that help coordinate information and tasks.
Lotsa Helping Hands is a volunteer coordination service for friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to assist loved ones in need. It’s an easy-to-use, private group calendar for scheduling and sign-ups for tasks from providing respite to meals, rides, and visits. It’s specifically designed for organizing helpers, where everyone can pitch in with meals delivery, rides, and other tasks necessary for life to run smoothly during a crisis. There is a place for announcements, a message board and an information section for families to store and retrieve health data, emergency contacts, medications and legal and financial records for designated members.
https://www.caringbridge.org/CaringBridge acts as a central coordination hub for you and your family and friends. It is a social network keeping families and loved ones connected during any type of health event. The CaringBridge mission is to amplify the love, hope, and compassion in the world, making each health journey easier.
CaringBridge services are available online 24/7 to anyone, anywhere at no cost.
- CaringBridge Sites –
CaringBridge provides sites where people can create a blog to post health updates. People are able to stay connected and leave supportive messages during any health event, big or small, acute or long-term.
The CaringBridge SupportPlanner helps family and friends coordinate care and organize tasks, such as bringing a meal, taking care of pets and other needs.
eCareDiary.com -simplifying life for the caregiver
Your loved one needs serious help. You’re managing a multitude of tasks. You’re doing the best you can, but where can you turn? eCareDiary’s online tools help make it easier. Create your Care Diary account today and start to:
- Schedule appointments, medications, and reminders
- Enter health information
- Keep a journal
- Store documents
- Create a Care Circle
eCare21 helps long-distance caregivers monitor a loved one’s heart rate, glucose levels, and other health data.
Doodle is a greate tool to schedule family meetings.
Whether you live alone and need care or you are raising your own family while taking care of an ill, aging or disabled loved one, this organization is a great option for you. I recently learned about this beautiful organization at the third annual National Caregiving Conference. Share the Care is an evidence-informed model and provides a plan to unite friends, family and neighbors to help someone they know in need of support no matter the circumstances. They have seven principles (c) for group caregivers that are part of Share the Care ™ groups. They have groups in 48 states and 11 countries! Check out their website for information on groups near you or to organize a group to care for someone who is ill.
Health, Disability, and Benefits Support Resources
A federal government website providing easy access to disability-related information and resources, Disability.gov has links to relevant programs and services offered by numerous government agencies. It is designed as a one-stop website where people with disabilities can easily find the resources they need to fully participate in the workforce and in their communities. Included is a state and local resources map, which makes it easy to locate disability-related information in specific parts of the country.
This site features an in-depth Benefit Finder tool that serves as a single access point for information on federal, state and local programs from across 17 different federal agencies. You’ll need to gather all the information you can relating to your elderly loved one’s health, disability, income, assets, military service, education level and more. When completing the Benefit Finder questionnaire, respond as accurately as you can. After submitting your answers, the site will generate a list of government programs, supplements, and services you may qualify for, including application details and eligibility information.
Ask Medicare will help family caregivers access and use valuable healthcare information, services, and resources. This new CMS initiative will feature a one-stop Web page for caregivers, providing easy access to useful information about Medicare and other essential resources to help with family caregiving including links to key partner organizations that assist caregivers and beneficiaries, and will present personal stories from caregivers in the community.
This area of Medicare.gov gives you the ability to compare home health companies across the country. https://www.medicare.gov/homehealthcompare/search.html
Use Medicare’s online tool. You can find and compare Medicare-certified Home Health agencies in your area through Medicare’s online tool Home Health Compare. If the facility is a nursing home, go to the Nursing Home Compare Web site to learn how it compares to the national average.
A federal Web site designed to help people stay healthy. Healthfinder.gov features links to more than 6,000 government and nonprofit health information resources on hundreds of health topics including personalized health tools such as health calculators, activity and menu planners, recipes, and more.
Free or Reduced Cost Dental Care Options
Free Dentures and Dental Care
National Association of Free Clinics
The National Association of Free Clinics is a nationwide group of doctors and dentists that provide free dentures and dental care for all age groups, including seniors. There are financial requirements that you must meet in order to qualify but this is a good resource.
Dentist Care Foundation of Mercy is a group of volunteer, traveling dentists who take their staffs with them on a “road show” for lack of a better phrase, and provide help in a given area on a first-come, first served basis for those without insurance.
ToothWisdom.org has comprehensive listings of programs available in all 50 states.
State Dental Association
Reach out to your state’s dental association. Here’s an up-to-date list here of the contact information for each state’s chapter. The great part about reaching out to them is that they should, and I am emphasizing the word should, know of the local programs that can help you.
Donated Dental Services
The next thing that I would do is seek out donated dental services. This is a service offered by the Dental Lifeline Network. You can visit their website here.
Care Credit can finance the cost of certain medical procedures. They do more than dental implants, such as Lasik eye surgery, but if you are in a bind and looking for a payment plan option for your medical services check them out.
Managing the Hospital Stay
Here are some resources to help you navigate hospital stays:
Caregiving Pathways Download this free family caregiver guide to managing the hospital stay.
Your GPS Doc has a fabulous checklist to help families navigate hospital stays. Dr. Nicole Rochester left her pediatric medical career after serving as a caregiver for her dad to help other families navigate the health care system.
I have a transition of care guide you can learn more about and get HERE.
National Institute on Aging Here is an article to learn more about how a geriatric care manager can help you with an older family member.
Veteran Caregiver Support Programs
- If you are a veteran or the family caregiver of a veteran, please contact the VA’s Caregiver Support Program or call the support line at 1-855-260-3274.
https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/ Every warrior has a next mission. We know that the transition to civilian life is a journey. And for every warrior, family member, and caregiver, that journey looks different. Wounded Warrior is here for their first step, and each step that follows. Because we believe that every warrior should have a positive future to look forward to.
The National Resource Directory was developed by the Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs for wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans, and their families; for families of the fallen, and those who support them.
Crisis Line for Veterans, Caregivers, and Families – 1-800-273-8255
Caregiver Support Line (1-855-260-3274)
Adult Day Services
According to AARP, Adult day care offers supervised, planned activities, social interaction, meals, and limited health services for as little as a half day and as many as five days a week.
Daily activities may include music, recreation, discussion, and support groups. Staff may include a nurse, social worker, and recreation or music therapist. However, staffing can vary across centers. If the person with Alzheimer’s requires medical services (i.e., insulin shots, help with medication, etc.) be sure to ask if the staff provides medical assistance.
Many caregivers who work during the day find this type of center very helpful as they try to balance a job with caregiving duties. Hours of service vary at each center, but some are open from seven to 10 hours per day, five days a week. Some may even offer weekend and evening hours, and most centers provide a meal or snacks.
Here are four options to look at:
This association provides information about locating adult day care centers in your local area.
2. Adult Day Care Health Services is for aging people who have qualifying intellectual, physical or mental challenges or are close to needing nursing-home level care, and includes intensive therapies and health and social services. Rules, regulations, and costs vary from state to state, so you will want to look at the national picture before you find a local program. Adult day care can cost $25 to more than $100 per day, depending on the area and program. If your loved one is taking part in Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), adult day care is free. State Medicaid waiver programs approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) may pay for adult day services or adult day health services according to a person-centered plan of care for beneficiaries who have nursing facility or institutional level-of-care requirements or are at risk of institutionalization.
3. Another option to look at for Adult Day Care Centers is through Archrespite.org.
4. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) can connect you with visiting companions, hourly in-home respite care, adult day care, and overnight respite providers. It also can tell you if there are local no-cost or low-cost programs, if your state Medicare program will cover some of the cost, and if financial assistance is available.
Respite and Services Costs
Costs for home care services vary depending on many factors, including what services are being provided, where you live, and whether the expenses qualify for Medicare or private insurance coverage.
Medicare covers certain in-home health care services when the person needing care meets eligibility criteria (which includes being homebound and requiring the services of a skilled professional), and if the services are considered reasonable and necessary for treatment.
For details about eligibility, download the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services booklet Medicare and Home Health Care. To find and compare Medicare-certified home health agencies in your area, use Medicare’s online tool Home Health Compare.
Cash Assistance Programs
Here are some resources to see if cash assistance is available:
Some states have programs for seniors with limited resources and assets, which allow seniors (or their representatives) to pay a person of their choosing, including family members, for in-home services. Such programs are often called “participant-directed services” or “cash and counseling,” although similar services go by different names depending on location.
To learn if a cash assistance program for home-health services exists in your state, contact your local Area Agency on Aging through their website or The Eldercare Locator (800.677.1116 | www.eldercare.gov.
CareCredit is a good option to consider for all things medical related if you need a credit option.
Lending Club is another option to consider for paying medical bills. They are not a bank. Instead, they connect borrowers with investors through their online marketplace.
Eligibility for Respite Care is determined based on a Caregiver Program needs assessment. The needs assessment completed by the Adult Services and Aging Specialist in consultation with the primary caregiver determines the number of hours and the frequency of the Respite Care provided to the care receiver. A cost share may be applicable.Discover your unique caregiver personality and get tips to leverage your strengths so you can be the best caregiver possible! http://bit.ly/familycaregivingquiz Click To Tweet
Senior Discounts on Prescriptions
According to The Senior List®, there are plenty of companies offering prescription savings. Some of these include:
AARP: With the AARP Prescription Discount Card (provided by OptumRx), AARP members and their families can save, on average, 61% on FDA-approved generic, brand name, or specialty drugs, your current prescription insurance or Medicare Part D plan fails to cover. Must be a member of AARP to access benefits. AARP boasts acceptance by 66,000 pharmacies nationwide.
Costco Member Prescription Program: The Costco Member Prescription Program is a prescription savings program for you and your family. It allows Costco members, who have no prescription drug insurance or whose insurance does not cover all of their prescription medications to save up to 80%, at time of sale.
CVS Pharmacy: Enroll in the CVS ExtraCare Savings and Rewards program. You’ll receive “ExtraSavings” through personalized coupons delivered on receipts, and online via the ExtraCare Coupon Center. ExtraBucks Rewards are earned by shopping and filling prescriptions. You can earn up to 2% back in ExtraBucks Rewards from your everyday purchases. Also, if you fill 10 prescriptions, your can earn $5 ExtraBucks Rewards through the ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards program.
Some other resources include:
http://www.angelwealthrx.com/you can get free prescription discount cards that help you save up to 85% on medications.
https://choicedrugcard.com The cards are 100% FREE, save up to 90% on prescriptions, we don’t collect your information, no registration required, everyone is eligible. You can print a card, coupon, letter or request a physical you can take to your pharmacy. You can search and find your drug cost and participating pharmacies online at https://choicedrugcard.com/search-drug-prices-and-find-a-pharmacy/
https://familywize.org/Get the lowest price on your prescriptions while searching online for drugs.
The Patient Assistant Programs through http://www.needymeds.org and the Saving Tips tab at http://www.goodrx.com are incredibly valuable resources and can REALLY help people save a lot of money if they qualify for it.
Prescription Savings Through Canadian Companies
There are also great options for general prescription savings through Canadian Companies.
https://rxcanada4less.com/ is a company that I have personal knowledge of with clients that have saved thousands of dollars and receive excellent products and support.
https://www.canadianpharmacyworld.com/ is another great option to research for reduced prescription medications.
When traveling with loved ones, the airline that offers refunds and no fees for changing itineraries is Southwest Airlines.
Here’s a comprehensive article with information about how to get free or reduced cost mobile phone services for low-income people.
Here’s a great article with information on free wheelchair availability for the disabled.
Here’s a great article with links for free or reduced rate eye exams and glasses.
Caregiver Community Support Services
Faith-Based Respite Options
Your church or spiritual family can be a tremendous source of support and respite.
- Contact faith-based caregiving organizations, including your local branches of Faith in Action or Interfaith Caregivers. Many have friendly visitor programs that will set up regular two- or three-hour social visits with your loved one, giving you respite time.
- Elder Helpers prescreens and posts pictures and bios of local volunteers who want to visit and help older people by doing basic chores. There is no charge for visits or services.
- Corporation for National and Community Service Senior Corps sponsors Senior Companions, a federal, community-based program that matches volunteers over age 55 with aging people who need help with daily life activities. Volunteers visit weekly, offering assistance with tasks and friendship.
General Respite and Support Options
There are so many companies providing support and respite for caregivers, seniors, people with disabilities and more. The list below includes a wide range of services including personal care, chores and errands, medication reminders, companionship, transportation, memory support, meal support, cleaning and other in person support and respite options. Without further ado, here’s the list:
Meal Train Is a great tool to organize a meal calendar for all kinds of situations. A meal calendar for patients and their caregivers. It simplifies the process of giving and receiving meals by sharing information with all participants and highlighting food preferences, preferred delivery times, etc.
Take Them a Meal Is another great option to plan meals for those in need. This site also includes recipe ideas that travel well.
Check out this article on the 12 best meal delivery service options to help save time in the kitchen.
Tasks, Services, Support, and Respite
Nextdoor is a private social network for your neighborhood. Many find respite care available here.
Takl – is a place to find same-day help for over 400 pre-priced home services on a trusted and reliable platform.
Angie’s List provides a variety of services around the home.
In Touch currently operates in CA, OR and AZ and offers a wide range of services including personal care, chores and errands, medication reminders, companionship, transportation, pet care, memory support, help during the holidays. In Touch also offers complimentary home inspections.
Synergy Home Care is another great option for a full range of care options including in-home living care. It’s a good option for helping loved ones age in place.
Care.com provides child care, tutoring, senior care, pet care, housekeeping and more.
Meetup.com is a place to find support and respite options in your area.
Zinkn.com is a cool way to get quick help as things happen in life. Just like on-demand ride sharing for transportation, now you can get trusted help fast with life’s unexpected personal to-do’s and everyday errands… when and where you need it, from trusted people right in your neighborhood.
https://www.kindlycare.com/ offers you the ability to hire a caregiver. Find top-rated caregivers in your area.
Granny NANNIES currently provides healthcare support in Arizona, Florida, Georgia,Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, Texas. In addition to traditional home care services, they also offer sitters, recovery care, special needs care, new parents care and more.
Task Rabbit provides in person and online help with virtually anything.
https://vtvnetwork.clubexpress.com/ Village to Village Network has hundreds of locations around the country designed to help caregivers with respite and seniors age in place through volunteer help in a number of different areas.
The activities section of local newspapers (paper or online versions) list support options too. Some local grocery stores offer online ordering, pick-up, and delivery options.
Caring, Inc. A well-organized site for those seeking support as they care for loved ones, with over 30 disease- or topic-specific support groups.
Daughterhood.org The daughterhood blog, website, and social media links connect the caregiver to resources. The site has good resources and helpful insights for caregivers caring for their elderly parents.
Next Step in Care Provides easy-to-use guides to help family caregivers navigate the healthcare system and work with healthcare providers.
Imerman Angels is a unique organization that carefully matches cancer patients and their caregivers with “mentor angels” who have been in the same role and can provide emotional support and resources. These one-on-one relationships can be nurtured via phone, online or in person.
Essential oils have helped me heal on so many levels. I used essential oils DAILY as a caregiver. One of my go-to oils is lavender.
Transportation options include:
Uber is a popular on-demand ride service that can have a car at your location within minutes.
Best for: Independent seniors who are comfortable using smartphone apps and can get in and out of a car without assistance
Price: Varies, but is generally lower than taxi rates.
Lyft is a popular on-demand ride service that can have a car at your location within minutes.
Best for: Independent seniors who are comfortable using smartphone apps and can get in and out of a car without assistance
Price: Varies, but is generally lower than taxi rates.
GoGoGrandparent is a concierge service that connects seniors with on-demand ride services like Lyft and Uber. These services can have a car at your location in minutes.
Best for: Seniors who are able to get in and out of a car without assistance
Price: Riders pay the regular price for the on-demand ride plus an additional 19 cents/mile for the concierge service. On-demand ride fares vary, but are generally lower than taxi rates.
Veyo is a company that partners with insurance companies and health facilities to provide non-emergency medical transportation that’s covered as an insurance benefit.
Best for: Seniors who need transportation to medical appointments and those who need a special vehicle to accommodate a wheelchair or stretcher
Price: Free, if the insurance company offers Veyo as a transportation benefit
iTNAmerica is a national network of senior ride companies that offer door-through-door transportation. The number of locations is limited, but it’s a great option if it’s available in your older adult’s area.
Best for: Seniors who need assistance in and out of the car and through the door to their destination
Price: Rates are affordable, but pricing varies depending on the local affiliate
NOTE: ABC News compiled a list of senior transportation resources by state.
Check into local transit options
Summer Camp Resources
Several organizations provide valuable links to summer camps for both children and adults with disabilities.
- 25 summer camps for individuals with special needs, click here.
- 19 more summer camps for individuals with special needs, click here
- United Cerebral Palsyand Easterseals also have summer camps across the country. Some camps are inclusive of all individuals, with and without disabilities.
- Very Special Campshas a national directory of camps for individuals with special needs.
- Summer Camp Resources
Other Children’s Camp Options
Kesem is a nationwide community, driven by passionate college student leaders, that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer. We are the largest national organization dedicated to this unique population – supporting children with innovative, fun-filled programs that foster a lasting community. Their mission is to be a child’s friend through and beyond a parent’s cancer.
They have 105 chapters in 40 states and all kid campers attend FREE!
Alzheimer’s Respite Care
Some organizations offer support specific to the illness or disability a family is dealing with, including these programs for Alzheimer’s respite care:
Hilarity for Charity — This nonprofit, started by actor-comedian Seth Rogen and his wife Lauren Miller Rogen, has provided grants for 191,000 hours of respite care for families living with Alzheimer’s disease. Care is provided by Hilarity for Charity’s partner in this project, the Home Instead Senior Care Network. Caregivers can apply at Hilarity for Charity.
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America—The foundation provides annual grants to its nonprofit member organizations for respite care in local communities. Find out which organizations provide grants to caregivers at the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America website.
Alzheimer’s Association – Learn about what is available in your community by contacting your local Alzheimer’s Association® chapter at 800.272.3900 or using our online Community Resource Finder. You can also use Alzheimer’s Navigator, our free online tool that helps evaluate your needs, identify action steps and connect with local programs and services.
Programs also exist outside of the usual caregiving settings. The Family Caregiver Alliance based in San Francisco offers Bay Area residents a Camp for Caring. In this program, care recipients are cared for in a “camp” setting with health care professionals while family caregivers can stay at home and take a break.
Technology as a Respite and Support Care Partner
These companies provide caregiver support through technology.
Over 7 million falls result in emergency room visits. ~ CDC
https://www.medicalguardian.com/1 in 4 older adults falls every year. Falling once doubles the risk of falling again. Falls are the leading cause of injuries and deaths among older adults. After a fall, 90% of older adults who get help within 1 hour will be able to return home. A one-stop provider of medical alert solutions, Medical Guardian is dedicated to helping people like you take the next chapter of their life head-on.
https://www.safetracksgps.com/ Do you have any wanderers in the house? The TRiLOC™ Personal Locator Device from SafeTracks GPS. The TRiLOC™ is a lockable wrist-worn watch that is completely independent of landlines, smartphones, and low tech tracking equipment. The device features Fall Detection, Multiple Geo-Fences (Safe Zones), 2G/3G/4G Cellular and GPS technology as well as 1 Minute Emergency Location Monitoring, notifications are sent to loved ones via email and/or text message.
All Things Medication Management
Managing Appointments and Tasks: Google Calendar allows multiple people to maintain a single calendar color-coded by a user, assign and coordinate tasks, establish a list of what needs to be done and notes for the status of a given project or event.
Medication Management: When faced with multiple prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, remembering when to take what pill when and with what can be confusing at best. Applications such as PillBox (National Library of Medicine), MedMinder include pill identification tools such as the FDA Drug Database, medication scheduling trackers and reminder alarms―all personalized to fit your requirements. Another company called Simple Meds offers a compliance packaging, full-service pharmacy licensed in all 50 states. Their solution helps seniors age in place and help manage medications more smoothly. Another solution I found was https://medqpillbox.com/MED-Q if an automatic pill dispenser alarm reminder is the answer. The smart pillbox remembers so you don’t have to. There are lots of great features here.
http://reminder-rosie.com/Reminder Rosie is designed to solve the very real daily challenges of memory loss. Inspired by the creator’s father who suffered from dementia, Rosie is a personalized, voice-controlled reminder system that older adults love! With its senior-friendly clock interface, Reminder Rosie is a simple, hands-free, inexpensive solution to remember your medication, appointments, and every-day tasks.
Medisafe is an app to monitor medications, see side effects to watch out for, and more. Doctors can also use this app to connect with patients.
The Mighty put together a terrific, cost-effective list of 14 pill/medication organizers.
Health Record Tracking
Personal Health Record Tracking: Keeping track of your health, the health of the person your care for and possibly the health of children and partner is wildly important. Apps like Health Vault, Mayo Health Manager, WebMD Health Manager offer secure tools to protect privacy, offer strategies to organize personal health records, and often include a way to record symptoms and keep track of test results and diagnoses. They can track hospital visits, immunization dates, maintain insurance records, and provide health-related alerts. There is even a tool to suggest questions for a doctor’s visit and then record the visit (with the okay of your doctor of course), to help remind you what was said and to share all or part of this with other key family members who were unable to attend the appointment.
https://www.oscarsenior.com/ is another great tech option. Caregiver and senior clients have the app installed on their device. Caregivers can make video calls or send messages to their senior clients. Seniors can contact caregivers, family & friends and use all other functions. Oscar Senior provides an efficient way to contact your clients via video calls or messages and check up on how they are doing. This is a value-added service to visits in person. Examples range from a wake-up call, check on medication usage, shopping needs for next visit, sharing information or a simple chat to connect.
Technology to Combat Loneliness and Connect People
https://www.grandpad.net/Now, here’s a tablet for the whole family! Through the free GrandPad companion app and web portal, loved ones can connect to GrandPad’s private family network via iPhone, Android phone, iPad, or desktop computer. Family members can even upload photos and adjust settings for the GrandPad user. The essential apps and services on the GrandPad eliminate the clutter, distractions, and complications of other devices. Our simple tablet for seniors enables users to view family photos and videos, call loved ones, send voice emails, play classic games, and listen to their favorite tunes with the touch of a button to instantly start making and sharing memories.
http://www.gerijoy.com/ Can virtual companions help ease our caregiving crisis? Geri Joy was founded around bringing JOY to GERIATRICS. Former NASA space telerobotics engineer and Founder and CEO of GeriJoy Inc Victor Wang brings joy to geriatrics. GeriJoy is a Caregiving Companion, built to address many of the unique challenges faced by seniors and their families. The GeriJoy Companion uses a special tablet, a remote team of human caregivers and advanced computer intelligence systems, to provide personalized, around-the-clock emotional support and real, stimulating social interactions. Seniors with the GeriJoy Companion are less lonely because they always have someone to talk to. Their health improves because they always have someone reminding them about important things like medication and exercise. And their family relationships and mental function improve because they’re happier and more engaged with their environment. Check out this terrific TEDMed talk about GeriJoy:
https://www.grandcare.com/GrandCare is a suite of technologies designed to reduce costs and improve outcomes by enabling family members, caregivers and healthcare professionals to monitor and care for seniors remotely. The heart of GrandCare is a large touchscreen which can provide activity and health monitoring, medication prompts, as well as easy communication. No computer skills are needed for the resident to fully engage in all of the touchscreen features.
The good folks at The Mighty put together a list of 17 Apps That Can Make Life Easier When Brain Fog Takes Over. This is terrific whether you are a caregiver or care receiver!
S.O.S. Safety Devices
A Place for Mom shared these safety devices worth checking out. Personal emergency response systems (PERS) are getting more sophisticated. Medic alert-like pendants and wristbands can be pressed during an emergency to alert family members and professionals.
Some companies like GreatCall and MobileHelp have mobile PERS that work anywhere, not just in your house — and include fall detection. If the PERS senses a fall, it alerts a call center even if the user hasn’t pressed the button.
Sensors like BeClose and Lively attach to objects your parent uses most: the bed, a toaster, the bathroom, a front door or a favorite chair, for instance. You remotely determine what circumstances merit notification (if Mom hasn’t made her coffee by 10 a.m., for example). You can check their activity on your smartphone.
Life Alert is a medical alert system to summon help for anyone having a home health emergency.
Here are 10 apps for caregivers
Here are 10 daily apps to help caregivers take care of their loved ones
Care Angels: will make care calls to your loved one and report back to you
Check out this link to learn how hospice care works.
There are more than 5,500 hospice programs in the United States. All provide medical and comfort care and allow you to remain at home if desired and possible. But not all offer the same level of services. Questions you should ask when considering hospice are here: http://palliativedoctors.org/hospice/program
Use the following websites to find a hospice or palliative care provider in your area:
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
This organization is committed to improving end-of-life care and expanding access to hospice care with the goal of profoundly enhancing quality of life for people dying in America and their loved ones. The organization advocates for the terminally ill and their families.
If you are ready to learn more about managing the end-of-life, here are some resources to get you started:
The Conversation Project This organization has a conversation starter kit and other tools to help your family begin the difficult process about the end of life.
https://www.inelda.org/find-doula/ This is the International End of Life Doula Association. If you are interested in having someone help your family prepare for and manage the end of life, use the registry on this site to locate a doula.
Last Acts Palliative Resource Center Last Acts functions to improve care near the end of life and is funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It provides practical information and tools on palliative care for both family members and healthcare professionals.
CaringInfo provides free advance directives and instructions for each state that can be opened as a PDF file.
LegalShield is an organization that gives people the ability to talk to a lawyer at any time for any reason as part of a reasonable monthly membership. Also included in memberships are FREE wills, advanced medical directives, power of attorney and more. This is at least a $1,500 package of legal documents done for you included in your membership.
Pet Respite and Support for Seniors
These 10 organizations provide all kinds of pet support for seniors, those with disabilities or people who are ill. Some of these organizations offer financial assistance to pet owners.
www.Rover.com is the nation’s largest network on 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers. If you have a dog that needs walking, this app is fabulous.
https://bestfriends.org helps save all the animals! This site has a comprehensive list of resources that offer financial assistance for pet guardians who are struggling, as well as senior citizens, people with disabilities and people who are seriously ill.
Veterinary colleges can be a good option to receive pet care. Go here to search your state for local schools.
Here’s a nationwide list of 15 organizations that provide financial assistance to pet owners in need.
www.CareCredit.com knows pets are family too. That’s why we offer veterinary and pet financing to help keep your most cherished family members in top shape.
https://thepetfund.com/ helps pet owners in need.
http://www.paws4acure.org/ is a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to those in need who can’t afford care for their pets.
To find a pet for a senior, www.petfinder.com, is a good option to start with. They allow potential owners to search for their perfect pet in a massive database composed of approximately 250,000 adoptable animals from nearly 11,000 animal and rescue groups nationwide.
Therapy Dogs International arranges visits from therapy dogs.
Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program screens and registers volunteer therapy animal handlers and their pets to provide safe and effective therapy animal visits in hospitals, assisted living, rehabilitation centers, schools, and other facilities.
Some Last Thoughts About Caregiver Respite and Support
Here are 5 last thoughts and tips for getting the respite and support you deserve:
1. Talk to the doctor. The physician providing care for the person is a great place to start. Ask for recommendations of home health providers that have experience caring for people with your caree’s specific needs.
2. Ask friends, family, and neighbors about their experiences. Getting a referral from someone who has used various respite services can be especially helpful.
3. Have a list of 3-5 emergency contacts. This can be for respite or for truly emergent situations. These are the people that have agreed to be there for you anytime. I recommend having this list of names and phone numbers in your phone and on your refrigerator for easy access.
4. I focused this article on resources that are generally available across the United States. There may be resources local to you outside of this guide. You may want to google “ Caregiver respite options in (insert city or state name)” to find locally-operated organizations.
5. Whatever you do, please take action and find support and respite for yourself on a regular basis. Your body thanks you. Your mind thanks you. Your spirit thanks you. Your family thanks you. Your care receiver thanks you. Well, these people may not thank you but taking time for yourself is required. Honor and respect your boundaries and yourself enough to preserve your health.
Want more? Here are related articles for seniors and caregivers:
I found so much goodness in my quest to compile an unparalleled list of respite solutions and came across these valuable articles you’ll want to read.
Here’s a link to the care act wallet cards for the states that approved this legislation: https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/local/info-2017/care-act-aarp-wallet-card.html
Financial assistance for caregivers: https://archrespite.org/consumer-information/caregiver-financial-assistance
Here’s a list of 10 government programs caregivers can access for their elderly parents: https://www.agingcare.com/articles/10-government-programs-caregivers-can-access-for-their-elderly-parents-120513.htm
Here’s a direct link to all senators should you need to reach them. https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact
Here’s a direct link to all members of the house of representatives should you need them.
Here are 25 organizations that take care of caregivers: http://www.asaging.org/blog/25-organizations-take-care-caregivers
For reassurance that you are not alone in your caregiving journey, here’s an article about 15 famous celebrities that are or were family caregivers. https://www.senioradvisor.com/blog/2014/08/15-famous-son-and-daughter-celebrity-caregivers/
Here are some more interviews with celebrity caregivers where they share their stories and tips. http://www.caregivingclub.com/celebrity-caregiver-interviews/
For a wide range of senior-related documentaries, go here. http://www.programsforelderly.com/index-documentaries-subpage.php
https://www.cancertutor.com/ for a list of articles and treatment options
www.programsforelderly.com features thousands of worldwide programs that provide a better way to deal with aging for older adults, caregivers, families, and communities. This website features programs on elder abuse, aging awareness, dementia, senior housing, senior safety, senior contributions, elderly nursing, senior health, senior activities and more.
The site also hosts a large documentary library featuring inspirational seniors, caregiving, death and dying, LGBT seniors, and other aging-related topics.
For a list of over 26 ways for seniors to save and get discounts, coupons and deals, check this out: http://www.programsforelderly.com/index-senior-discount-coupon-deals-rewards.php
https://www.n4a.org/ provides advocacy and support for all issues related to aging.
Caregiver Action Network is a family caregiver organization with links to caregiver resources, a forum, and caregiver networking.
Discover your unique caregiver personality and get tips to leverage your strengths so you can be the best caregiver possible! http://bit.ly/familycaregivingquiz
Take the free quiz here:>> http://bit.ly/familycaregivingquiz
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