As a caregiver, a mentality can form that you’ll just handle everything yourself. It’s frankly much easier than having to coordinate with others. You don’t want to feel like a burden or take advantage of anyone that’s offered help. You’re more confident in what you’re able to do, and fearful of what others will neglect. Or potentially you’ve seen the price tag for help and felt it’s simply impossible to pay or utilize in any meaningful way. But at the end of a long stretch of days, weeks, months, or years – you’re tapped out. 

So as a caregiver, what’s your lifeline in this situation? I recently met with Crystal Polizzotti from AgeSpan’s Family Caregiver Support Program. This group provides information and additional referrals to programs and services that support a caregiver’s efforts, whether caring for someone at home, in assisted living, or in a skilled nursing facility. Because even if you have enlisted the help of others for direct care, there are still plenty of non-care related issues that fall to the person in charge. 

Services provided directly from this program include:

    • Family meeting facilitation
    • Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias education and support
    • Relaxation events
    • Grants for emergency needs
      • Fridge break down and you’re income can’t support this unexpected expense? A grant may be offered to cover this one-time expense. 
    • Caregiver counseling and advice
      • Guidance on various matters and referrals to groups who can implement recommendations. Read more below.
    • Respite care scholarships
      • Yes, money can actually be provided to caregivers for a little R&R!
    • Habilitation therapy
      • A process aimed at helping individuals with disabilities attain, keep, or improve skills and functioning for daily living.
    • Grand-family and kinship family support
      • Help to improve supports and services where grandparents are raising children.
    • Grandparent campership scholarships
      • Money toward camps for  caregivers raising grandchildren.

Our Family Caregiver Support Program Team is a small but mighty team of professionally trained staff, we all have been family caregivers in our personal lives and understand the rewards and challenges of providing care to a loved one. It can be complex to manage someone’s needs and we understand the impact these responsibilities can have on family dynamics. Caring for a loved one is a full time job and we are here to ensure the family caregivers in our communities are getting the much needed breaks they need and deserve to prevent burnout.

As mentioned, The Caregiver Support Group also provides useful referrals to programs a caregiver may not know about. AgeSpan has a bounty of programs intended to support seniors and caregivers, and this group can make you aware of which ones support your family best. 
Popular ones include:
    • Money management services
    • Meals on Wheels
    • Veteran Affairs
    • Senior Housing Options
    • Various Home Care Programs
    • Hoarding/Clutter Support
    • Behavioral Health
    • Medicare Counseling (SHINE)
    • CareRide and Transportation 
    • Elder Abuse Report Lines
    • Access to medical equipment 
    • Home modification services and supplies

And while this particular service is local to my community (Merrimack Valley / North Shore Massachusetts), that doesn’t mean comparable programs aren’t available nationally.  Calling your local senior center is a great starting point to find out what’s available in your or a loved one’s locality.

To start your referral to the Family Caregiver Support Group , click here