If you are a new family caregiver or one who has taken on increased responsibility, connecting with the right tools and support is vital. Unless you’ve filled this role before, you might not be aware of the many resources that exist to assist caregivers.
Support Programs for Family Caregivers
Support groups offer caregivers a chance to network and exchange ideas with peers. The emotional support they provide also helps caregivers realize the fear, guilt, sadness, and frustration they struggle with is normal.
Here are three leading avenues for finding a support group:
- Family Caregiver Alliance: When it comes to support, it’s hard to top the Family Caregiver Alliance. In addition to a comprehensive learning center packed with articles, tip sheets, and guides, their site hosts Caregiver Connect. That helps family caregivers find online support groups.
- Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Groups: The Alzheimer’s Association also provides tools and support to caregivers. One way they do that is by helping family members find an Alzheimer’s caregiver community, whether it is online or in person.
- Eldercare Locator: Another helpful resource is Eldercare Locator. Not only do they maintain a list of caregiver support groups, but they also share information on senior care, insurance, and transportation.
Technology for Caregivers
Another struggle family caregivers often have is managing their loved one’s medical information. It can be overwhelming to keep track of physician appointments, contact information, their medication list and schedule, and past medical history. Fortunately, technology has made it easier.
Two options to explore are:
- MyMedical: This medical record app makes it easy for caregivers to store and share their loved one’s health files. From test results to physician contact information, you can access, update, and email important medical information. MyMedical offers caregivers a free trial.
- CareZone: Like the MyMedical app, CareZone offers seniors and family caregivers a wide variety of features. You can do everything from creating and sharing a medication schedule to maintaining a symptom journal.
Keeping a senior on track with their medication schedule can be another challenge for family caregivers. This is especially true if a loved one has memory loss. Medication mistakes can be dangerous. In fact, they are a leading reason older adults are admitted to hospitals.
This is another area where technology can help.
- Electronic pill dispensers: Modern pill dispensers make managing medication schedules easier and safer. Electronic pill dispensers have features that range from sounding an alert at dosage time to opening the right box for the current medication. Some will even text a family contact person if a dose is missed. Most of these systems utilize wireless technologies for convenience.
- Reminder apps: Family caregivers who work might have a difficult time calling their loved one to remind them to take their medication. If an older adult you are a caregiver for needs a reminder, apps such as Dosecast and Mango Health can help.
Finding Local Caregiver Support
Our final suggestion is to get to know your local resources. You can do that by contacting agencies and organizations such as:
- Agency on Aging
- your local senior center
- Mobile Meals
- local home care and adult day programs
- assisted living communities
- senior transportation providers.
We also encourage you to bookmark The Sunrise Blog and stop back often. We update it throughout the week with the latest news and research on aging, senior living, and caregiving.