Support for Caregivers

Family Caregiving June 04, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

Family caregivers may access support from individuals, employers and their communities. People may become overwhelmed when trying to obtain information and arrange for services through the wide variety of national, state and local agencies. Individuals and communities can support family caregivers in many ways - here are some ideas.

What Can Individuals Do?

  • Volunteer to help family caregivers through organizations that reach out to them, such as hospice, church or inter-faith respite programs and other community groups.
  • Contact the state or tribal aging office or the Area Agency on Aging and ask about other volunteer opportunities to support family caregivers.
  • Offer companionship to family caregivers or help them network with other family caregivers to support on another.

What Can Employers Do?

  • Develop plans, policies and procedures for family care that support employees, such as flexible use of sick leave, vacation and family leave for eldercare crisis and end-of-life situations.
  • Provide educational workshops, informal discussions and information on family caregiving issues and resources.
  • Provide referrals for information and advice on medical, legal, financial and family communications, or counseling or bereavement services.
  • Encourage wellness efforts that help family caregivers ease stress and maintain their own health.

What Can Communities Do?

  • Provide support services such as support groups, respite care and in-home health care services, educational programs and written information.
  • Help build awareness of these support services, family caregiver issues, concerns, and other resources in the community.
  • The state or tribal aging office; Area Agency on Aging; health and other care professionals, including doctors and nurses; human services agencies; and church, temple and inter-faith agencies and volunteers can all help by:
    • Making supports for family caregivers known throughout the community and easy to access.
    • Making sure target audiences know about resources, especially isolated spouses, aging immigrants, and those who work full-time in the home.
    • Referring family members to other community resources and information for family caregivers.

These supports help a family caregiver keep the care recipient at home and avoid or postpone institutionalization. They also provide information, education, services and support to family caregivers so they can continue their caregiver roles.

Family Caregiving is Everyone's Business

Am I a Caregiver?

Other Family Caregivers

Family Caregiving Is Important

Future Caregivers

The Cost of Caregiving

The Family Cost of Caregiving

Where Older Adults and Their Caregivers Live

Dementia Caregivers

Support for Caregivers

Caregiver Resources

Reference List and Downloads

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.