Local Resources to Help You Survive Caregiving
If you have recently learned that a loved one needs your help, here are some of the places you might start investigating:
Area Agencies on Aging: (MEAAA in the county – www.mid-eastaaa.org/, 636-207-0847 – and SLAAA in the City – www.slaaa.org/, 314-612-5918) The AAAs manage Senior Centers, information and referral, care management, fund OATS transportation, are navigators for Medicare, help fund the long term care advocacy program (VOYCE), offer respite services, adult day care and much more.
The Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org/stl/) One of the top associations in the country, they host many programs to help the caregiver, including peer to peer counseling, a 24/7 helpline, educational seminars for caregivers and family members, funding for respite care and more.
Older Adult Senior Resource Guide (www.stlouistimes.com): This Guide is commonly referred to as our area’s “Industry Bible” when it comes to providing resources for our aging population. Free at the Area Agencies on Aging and other organizations.
Adult Day Centers: In contrast to Senior Centers, adult day centers provide a weekday respite (as long as 7am-6pm) to the caregiver while providing meals, snacks, health services, therapeutic services, and social activities. Full day or partial day available. It provides stimulation for the person and respite for the caregiver.
Meals on Wheels: (314-268-1523; www.mowstl.org). Nutritious meals are supplied to homebound residents on a donation basis and delivered by volunteers.
Home-Care Agencies and Registries: St. Louis offers many agencies and registry options for obtaining home health services. Screened, professional caregivers can be life-savers for the loved one and the primary family caregiver.
These resources can provide a great deal of assistance to the family caregiver but in the end, it is up to the caregiver to have a backup plan if they are sick and unable to care for their loved one and to take care of themselves. Make no mistake, caregiving is stressful and isolating! Utilize a home health aide to give yourself time away to regroup and refresh yourself. Taking some time for you to visit friends and relax is essential!
If your parent needed immediate assistance from a family member, who would be able to help? Women have typically handled the healthcare and personal care decisions. Sons often are better at handling finances as they do not have as much first-hand experience with direct care. Caregiving usually falls to the daughter or adult child who is closest. Once someone steps in to help, the other siblings often step back and depend on that person to provide all of the care.
Stress, worry and frustration are contributing factors in the placement of older adults in an institutional setting sometimes before they actually need it. There are alternatives, however. Older adults who prefer to stay in their home can elect to have a caregiver in for a few hours, a half day, a full day, or round-the-clock. It can make a huge difference in the overall well-being of an older adult. They may not cook anymore so having someone prepare nutritious meals will boost their overall physical well-being as well as provide companionship. Some older adults need help getting up in the morning. Dressing and bathing are activities offered by aides. They provide light housekeeping, cue the person to take their medications and sometimes provide transportation to doctor’s visits, banking, grocery store, barber and more. All of these activities boost the older adult’s engagement in life.
Age at HomeCare, a registry home health company, is owned and managed by Davis Allen, former Exec. Dir. of Sarah Care Adult Day Center. He has an MA in Human Resource Development and is a Certified Nurse Assistant. He continues to work as a companion caregiver with his own clients. All of his associates have previous direct care experience so they are attuned to the needs of their clients and families.
Resources for the Family Caregiver
Davis Allen, Owner