By Nicole Ruggiano
I often talk with people who have recently become caregivers and are not sure where to turn to for information. Oftentimes, they do not know what information to look for or where to find it. Also, the resources and services available in communities varies, so I'm often at a loss when a caregiver asks about services in a community that I'm not familiar with.
Caregivers are desperate for information, though! There are so many questions they have, like:
For those who are new to caregiving, there are some agencies I suggest they talk with first about their experience and needs. These are agencies that have information on a variety of services and programs and are well-connected with local care providers, so they can explain what types of services families may benefit from using and also where those services are provided. They also provide education about dementia and caregiving to help families understand and cope with the process of managing symptoms and challenges associated with dementia.
Alabama Cares Program
The Alabama Cares Program is offered through the Alabama Department of Senior Services. They serve families across the state. They provide education on their website, workshops for caregivers, and support with finding respite care. Alabama Cares can provide an assessment of your family's situation and make suggestions based on the needs of your family. This way your family can find out more about what will be helpful in your situation, rather than a one-size-fits all approach that you may not find as helpful. You can find out more about the Alabama Cares Program through their website here.
The Alabama Department of Senior Services also provides a website on Dementia Friendly Alabama that also has education and support for families, which can be accessed by clicking here.
Area Agencies on Aging
Area Agencies on Aging are agencies that provide education and support to older adults to help them remain in their homes and communities. They are designated to provide support to families within specific areas of the state, so they are connected with the challenges and needs of families in your community.
There are 14 Area Agencies on Aging across the state of Alabama. They can make an assessment of what your family's needs are and help connect you with services in your community. They also provide caregiver education and support programs. To find where you nearest Area Agency on Aging is, you can identify which one serves your county by looking at this map or through this list of Alabama Area Agencies on Aging.
The Take Away
Whether you are a new caregiver or have been a caregiver for many years, these sources of information are reliable and trustworthy for your family. For new caregivers, do not wait to learn more about your loved one's condition or services available to you. Often, families do not reach out for help until there is a crisis. You can avoid that by reaching out as soon as you think you need help and support.
Tell us about your experience! If you have turned to these agencies for help and support, let others know how they have helped you by commenting below.
The Caregiving 101 is a resource for caregivers in Alabama who want to learn more about caregiving and dementia.
What would you like to learn more about?