November 2014 has been proclaimed as National Family Caregivers Month by President Barack Obama to “pay tribute to those who provide for the health and well-being of their family members, friends, and neighbors.” In honor of the over 60 million caregivers in the United States, we are focusing this week’s blog post on resources for these strong and selfless individuals.
Whether you are taking care of the young or elderly; the ill, injured, or disabled; the difficulty of the work, while rewarding, can be draining. Respite care services (outlined here by StuffSeniorsNeed.com) can help allay the exhaustion and give a well-deserved break to caregivers. In 2006, the Lifespan Respite Care Program was authorized by Congress and has since been implemented in 30 states. Funded by federal grants from the Administration for Community Living and the Administration on Aging, the program has expanded access to respite care for caregivers of patients of all ages.
Caregivers of veterans are eligible for support from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In addition to respite care, VA Caregiver Services include home-based healthcare for those in need. Respite services and home-based healthcare are also offered by a number of organizations that can be found by searching for “Respite Care” and/or “Home Care” under Services Provided in our Diagnosis-Based Assistance database, though is not offered for all diagnoses.
Caregivers act as both healthcare provider and advocate for the person in their charge, and can be a financial resource when savings and social security are not an option. While many options for respite or help at home are free or low-cost, there are out-of-pocket expenses even when Medicare or Medicaid covers portions of the cost. Crowdfunding with HEALfundr can help relieve financial worries for both the patient and caregiver to help cover medically related expenses.
Call NeedyMeds’ toll-free helpline (800-503-6897) for information on respite, home care, or other forms of caregiver support. It is important to note, however, that with different eligibility requirements for different programs in different areas of the country, it can be difficult to find a one-stop resource for caregivers. If you are having trouble finding services in your area, contact a local social worker.