As an elder law attorney, my greatest sense of accomplishment comes from helping families face the problems and issues associated with aging. Many of these problems, though, go beyond the scope of legal work. The various burdens faced by family caregivers fall into this category.
Caring for an elderly family member is time-consuming, expensive, and can be thankless and frustrating. Individuals suffering from dementia often engage in difficult and irrational behaviors that challenge the will of even the most patient caregiver. In fact, studies have shown that care-giving can directly and negatively impact the caregiver’s physical, mental and emotional health. Fortunately, some companies and non-profit organizations are implementing programs to help with this growing problem.
For example, the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) consists of a national “aging network,” 56 state government agencies and 655 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), with more than 25,000 local community programs, such as senior centers and Councils on Aging (COAs).
Other resources include:
- AARP Community Forums
- Genworth and AARP’s Joint Caregiving Help and Advice Services
- Local Area Agencies on Aging
- Local Caregiver Support Groups; and
- the Family Caregiver Alliance.
It is difficult to care for others if you do not also care for yourself. If you know any caregivers who could benefit from these resources, I encourage you to pass this along.
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