Are you a caregiver? Are you struggling to care for a loved one and yourself? You are not alone.
More than 1.6 million Tennesseans are caring for family, friends, neighbors and loved ones - providing more than 1 million hours of help a year.
AARP Tennessee wants to help those caregivers. That's why we are listing some of the resources that we shared during our caregiving tele-town hall on May 13 with more than 11,000 caregivers:
Tennessee Area Agencies on Aging and Disability
CHOICES (home and community based long-term care services offered through TennCare/Medicaid)
Tennessee Disability Coalition
AARP Caregiving Support
Lotsa Helping Hands (Organizing tool for free help from neighbors, friends, church members, family)
Caregiver Action Network
Benefits Checkup (Help paying for medicine, food, etc.)
1 (866) 311-4287
10 Tips for Family Caregivers (via Caregiver Action Network)
- Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone!
- Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
- Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
- Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
- Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
- Watch out for signs of depression and don't delay in getting professional help when you need it.
- Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
- Organize medical information so it's up to date and easy to find.
- Make sure legal documents are in order.
- Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!
FILL IN STORIES:
- RESPITE CARE: Elaine is a caregiver for her husband, who has had a series of strokes. She says she is the sole caregiver and can’t afford to get any help. She’s lost 15 pounds and is completely exhausted. Is there anywhere for her to turn?
- CHOICES COMMENTS: Nina works full time and cares for her 89-year-old mother at night and on the weekends. She has help from TennCare’s “Choices” program – which provides a caregiver 7 hours a day.
- This is a program that you might want to check into - it allows folks to receive long-term care services at home through Tennessee’s Medicaid program. http://www.tn.gov/tenncare/long_choices.shtml 1-877-224-0219
- ALZHEIMER’S HELP: Lynne is a full time caregiver for her friend who has early onset Alzheimer’s. Her friend had some care at one point through Medicare but it was cancelled because she is still ambulatory. Lynne would love the time to attend educational programs so that she can better care for her friend. Lynne has been doing this for more than 6 years and says the disease is killing them both.
- In Tennessee, call the Area Agencies on Aging and Disability for all kinds of assistance: 1-866-836-6678.
- b. Later this week, Dr. Peter Rabins, a member of AARP’s national caregiving expert panel, will answer questions during an online chat about caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Learn more at www.aarp.org/caregiving.
- 4. CONSERVATORSHIP: Michelle says she has “ fought without having an attorney as I could not afford one to be named conservator for my Dad. He suddenly lost his memory on December 30, 2012 and was found lost in another city. She thinks more laws are needed to protect the elderly.
- HCBS v. NURSING HOME COST: Abigail says her 94 year-old mother lives with her and her husband. She gets 2 days of in home assistance – 5 and a half hours a day – and that has really helped. But she could really use a little more . She wonders why the government won’t provide more but will pay for round the clock care in a nursing home – at a much higher cost.