The Complete Caregiver Respite Guide You Need to Know

The Complete Caregiver Respite Guide You Need to Know

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!

Caregiver Respite and Support

In this article, I’m sharing the most comprehensive caregiver respite guide and caregiver support options available. Do you ever feel like this?

Caregiver Respite Guide

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:

 

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

Ultimate Guide to Caregiver Respite

 

Use a Community Resource Finder

Search for home care services near you by using this online community resource finder.

A Place for Mom 

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.

Shepherd’s Centers of America

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

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.

 

What Family Caregivers Think http://bit.ly/byeoverwhelm

Caregiver Respite and Support Resources

 


Ultimate Guide to Caregiver Respite

 

National Respite Organizations

National Respite Coalition (NRC)

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.

National Respite Locator Service

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.

Respite Education & Support Tools (REST)

The REST program – an evidence-based respite-training program – provides the skills and tools needed to provide quality respite.

State Respite Registries

ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center

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

You may also find other resources specific to your state. We also provide links to select State Respite Registries.

www.Eldercare.gov 

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

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.
  • SupportPlanner
    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

https://www.caregiver.org/digital-technology-family-caregiver

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.

www.SharetheCare.org

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

 

Ultimate Guide to Caregiver Respite

 

Disability.gov

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.

Benefits.gov

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.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

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.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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

Our friends at Stuff Seniors Need have put together a list of resources to get either free or low-cost dental care by state.  You can view that list here.

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

Ultimate Guide to Caregiver Respite

  • 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)

Caregivers of Post-9/11 Veterans
Home-Based Primary Care
Home Hospice Care
Respite Care
Skilled Home Health Care
Veteran-Directed Care

 

Adult Day Services

Adult Day Respite 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:

  1. National Adult Day Services Association, Inc.

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

Financial Caregiver Support

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.

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.

One note…

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

Caregiver Respite and Support

Faith-Based Respite Options

Faith based caregiver respite

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

Caregiver Respite Services

 

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:

Meals

Meals on Wheels

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.

Caregiver Respite and Support

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 ArizonaFloridaGeorgia,IndianaPennsylvaniaMichiganKentuckyOhioTexas. 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.

United Way

Cancer.org

Heart.org

American Diabetes Association

Alzheimers Associations

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

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.

http://mydōTERRA.com/tandyelisala

Transportation options include:

Uber

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

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
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
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
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. 

Taxi

Check into local transit options

Summer Camp Resources

Summer Camp Respite Options

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

 

Alzheimer’s Respite Care

Alzheimer's Respite Options

 

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.

http://bit.ly/byeoverwhelm

 

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

Technology Caregiver Support

These companies provide caregiver support through technology.

Over 7 million falls result in emergency room visits. ~ CDC

Safety

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. 

http://caregiveraction.org/tech

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.

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 VaultMayo Health ManagerWebMD 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.

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

 

Palliative and Hospice Care

Palliative and Hospice Care Options

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:

https://moments.nhpco.org/find-a-hospice

https://getpalliativecare.org/provider-directory/

 

End-of-Life Information

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/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.

Legal Support

Legal Support for Caregivers

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.

https://www.legalshield.com/hub/coachtandy

Pet Respite and Support for Seniors  

Pet Respite 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.

Caregiver Pet Respite

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.

Ultimate Guide to Caregiver Respite

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

http://www.TandyElisala.com/DailyDoseOfHope

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.

http://bit.ly/familycaregivingquiz

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.

http://www.rosalynncarter.org/caregiver_resources/

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

https://tandyelisala.com/19-important-questions-to-ask-before-surgery/

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.

https://www.house.gov/representatives

https://tandyelisala.com/47-powerful-lessons-and-advice-from-family-caregivers/

Here are 25 organizations that take care of caregivers: http://www.asaging.org/blog/25-organizations-take-care-caregivers

https://tandyelisala.com/6-ways-to-help-seniors-be-independent/

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

 

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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Tandy Elisala

Family Caregiver Coach, Cancer Empowerment Advocate and Chief Inspiration Officer at Center for Inspiring Greatness | Empowered Family Caregiver
Tandy Elisala is passionate about helping family caregivers go from being overwhelmed and stressed to empowered and calm. Tandy went through cancer four times and learned how to heal using conventional, complementary, and alternative therapy. Tandy left her corporate career to take care of both parents simultaneously while raising three kids as a single mom. She took care of both parents for 2 1/2 years until their respective deaths. Tandy now teaches what she learned on her journey. Tandy is a family caregiver coach, a multiple best-selling author, inspirational speaker and mom to three adult kids, one angel dog and one diva cat.

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