The National Family Caregiver Support Program is a federally funded program that offers flexible benefits and support services to informal caregivers of people 60 years of age or older, an individual with Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder and also for grandparents and relatives age 55 or older caring for a relative child no older than 18 years of age related by birth, marriage or adoption.
There are only four kinds of people in this world:
Those who have been caregivers;
those who currently are caregivers;
those who will be caregivers, and
those who will need caregivers.
- Information about available programs and services.
- Assistance accessing services.
- Counseling, support groups and training to help caregivers make decisions and solve problems related to their caregiver role.
- Respite care to give caregivers time off from care giving responsibilities.
- Supplemental services on a limited basis, to supplement caregiving tasks.
Family Caregivers of the Elderly
A family caregiver is defined as an adult family member or another individual who is an informal provider of in-home and community care to an older individual or an individual of any age with Alzheimer’s or a related diagnosis. In order to receive respite care or supplemental services, the care recipient must meet the definition of frail:
- Be functionally impaired in the performance of two activities of daily living; or three instrumental activities of daily living; or a combination of one activity of daily living and two instrumental activities of daily living.
Grandparents or Other Relative Caregivers
- A grandparent or older individual who is a relative caregiver means a grandparent or step grandparent of a child, or a relative of a child by blood, marriage, who is 55 years of age or older.
- Must live with the child (age 18 or younger);
- Is the primary caregiver of the child because the biological or adoptive parents are unable or unwilling to serve as the primary caregivers of the child; and
- Has a legal relationship to the child, such as legal custody or guardianship, or is raising the child
Tips on Alleviating Caregiver Stress
- Take Care of Yourself !!! – You are no help to others if you are not well yourself. Eat healthy, drink plenty of fluids, get adequate sleep/naps, and exercise. Give yourself permission to take a break and do something you enjoy. You will be refreshed and ready to tackle your caregiver duties again.
- Ask for Help – Friends and family may want to help but don’t know what to do. Be specific and explain to others what your needs are. Accept help when offered. You may also want to explore getting professional help such as in home respite or an adult day care center.
- Join a Support Group – Connecting and sharing with other caregivers can bring new insight, help with problem solving, and decrease the feeling of being alone. There are support groups who meet in the community and on line groups.
The FIVCO Area Agency on Aging and our National Family Caregiver Support Coordinator can help you explore available resources and support groups.