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For Caregivers


Are you caring for someone?

Do you pick up groceries for your parents or neighbors? Do you take them to the doctor? If you assist someone else who needs help with their daily living, then you are a caregiver.

Funded by the Older American's Act Reauthorization of 2000, the National Family Caregiver Support Program is designed to support caregivers of older adults in their roles of providing necessary and vital care.

One of the most important highlights of this program is the focus on the caregiver. Traditionally, the older adult is viewed as the "client" and therefore the focus of the care-planning process. In this program, however, the caregiver is the focus.

Give us a call today and our staff will connect you with community agencies and services, provide fact sheets and publications that may answer some of your questions, and direct you to other resources. 

You may see the word FAQ when you are surfing the internet. This stands for "Frequently Asked Questions." This is the page to see what other caregivers are asking, and get some ideas to apply to caregiving!

My loved one is becoming more forgetful. How can I tell the difference between normal memory lapses and a more serious problem?

The Alzheimer's Association has developed a list of 10 warning signs of Alzheimer's Disease. They are:

  1. Memory loss affecting job skills
  2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks
  3. Problems with language
  4. Disorientation to time and place
  5. Poor or decreased judgment
  6. Problems with abstract thinking
  7. Misplaces things
  8. Mood and behavior changes
  9. Changes in personality
  10. Loss of initiative

If you think your loved one's memory loss is more serious than usual, or if your loved one has several of the above signs, please consult a doctor.

I live very far away from my loved one needing care. How can I be a caregiver from such a long distance?

Long-distance caregiving can be a hard task, but it is possible for many families. Good places to start are the Area Agency on Aging in your loved ones area, a geriatric assessment team, and doing some research in your loved ones area. Getting a copy of the telephone book, names and telephone numbers of neighbors, friends and loved ones around your loved one, and some planning are all good steps as well. The more information you have, and the more planning you do, the more successful your caregiving will be.

I have heard the term "Respite." What is this?

Respite is giving yourself a break. It can be getting away for the day, reading a book, or a facility stay for your loved one. The important thing to remember is respite is time for you to recharge. Every caregiver needs to look into respite if they are having a hard or stressful time with their caregiver duties.

My loved one is still driving. How do I know when it's time for them to hang up the keys? How do I get them to accept that they should not be driving anymore?

This is a common, and difficult situation. A place to start is the AARP. They offer a training course title "55 alive" for drivers to improve skills behind the wheel. AARP also offers the following self-quiz on driving:

  1. Do you sometimes say "whew, that was close?"
  2. At times, do cars seem to appear from nowhere?
  3. At intersections, do care sometimes proceed when you felt you had the right-of-way?
  4. Are gaps in traffic harder to judge?
  5. Do others honk at you?
  6. After driving, do you feel physically exhausted?
  7. Do you think you are slower than you used to be in reacting to dangerous driving situations?
  8. Have you had an increased number of near accidents in the past year?
  9. Do you find it difficult to decide when to join traffic on a busy interstate highway?
  10. Do intersections bother you because there is so much to watch for in all directions?

Asking these questions, and receiving a yes to one or more, may indicate near misses in driving and should help you determine if driving by your loved one should be stopped.

Some tips on how to get your loved one to stop driving are:

  1. Call the Department of Motor Vehicles and ask what the state laws are regarding older drivers, and ask for their advice on the matter of your loved one.
  2. Use the doctor's orders to stop them from driving. Eye exams are very useful for seeing if your loved one's eye sight is poor enough to warrant taking away the keys.
  3. Try reasoning with your loved one. If you feel that they are endangering people when they drive, let them know that. Let them know that you feel that you think they could hurt someone else on the road if they continue driving.

I feel like I cannot be a caregiver anymore, or I just want a break. Does this make me a bad caregiver?

NOT AT ALL. All caregivers are doing a service for their loved ones. Caregivers need to worry about how they are caring for themselves as much as caring for their care recipients. Caregiving is hard, and breaks, or respite are very necessary for the good of all involved. You owe it to yourself to worry about you first, then your care recipient. If you are sick, or burned out, stressed, or just overwhelmed, and cannot give care anymore, then no one is being taken care of. Do not let yourself and your interests, concerns of your own health, or your families go unaddressed. There is a happy balance - you just need to find it.

Do you need respite? Is it difficult to go to the grocery, or go to the beauty shop? Then respite help might be the answer.

Respite service (in-home or Adult Day Service) to help alleviate caregiver stress is available.

What is the Family Caregiver Support Respite Program?

The Family Caregiver Respite Program is available to caregivers in Ashland, Crawford, Huron, Knox, Marion, Morrow, Richland, Seneca and Wyandot counties who are caring for an older person living in one of these counties.

The purpose of the program is to provide respite (relief) to family caregivers to give them time away for other family or personal activities. Caregivers may be of any age or income, do not have to be immediate family members, and are not required to live in the same household with the older person.

There are no charges for screening, assessment, care management or home care services, but caregivers are offered an opportunity to contribute to the program's support so more older persons and their caregivers can be served.

Family Caregiver Respite Eligibility Criteria:

  1. Caregiver provides care to a frail or functionally impaired person age 60 or older.
  2. Caregiver needs respite service.
  3. Older person lives in a non-institutional setting in Ashland, Crawford, Huron, Knox, Marion, Morrow, Richland, Seneca or Wyandot County.

Special priority is given to applicants who have the highest level of impairment or have the lowest income.

Family Caregiver Respite Home Care Services

All services are intended to provide respite for caregivers. Available services include:

  • Adult Day Service is an out of home program of structured activities in a group setting. Transportation (if necessary) can be provided.
  • Counseling is a professional service to provide individually tailored education and ongoing support to caregivers.
  • In-Home Respite Care includes assistance with personal care (bathing, dressing, grooming and toileting) and homemaking tasks.

Getting your legal affairs in order is always a good idea. Making decisions ahead of time will lessen the stress during times of illness, incapacity or death. Make an appointment with an elder law and estate planning attorney and find out what documents you will need.

Wills

A will is the written instrument by which a person makes disposition of his estate to go into effect after his death. A will is important because if you do not have a will, the state will decide how your estate is distributed.

If you already have a will, make sure it is up-to-date and stored in a secure and accessible place. A will stored in a safe-deposit box in a deceased person's name is not available at their death.

Regular and Durable Powers of Attorney

A regular Power of Attorney is the document by which one person authorizes another person to act on his behalf. The power of attorney can be broad enough to handle all legal and financial matters or can be limited to one or more specific activities. Those activities can be signing checks for mortgage and utility payments on only one checking account.

Giving someone power of attorney does not take away the person's ability to conduct his or her own affairs and is useful if your loved one wants to handle some of his or her legal and financial affairs. A regular power of attorney is revoked if the person becomes incapacitated.

A Durable Power of Attorney continues even if the person becomes incapacitated and will enable the caregiver or other individual with power of attorney to continue to take care of affairs on behalf of the loved one.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is the document that allows you to name a person to act in your behalf to make health care decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself.

A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is different from a regular Durable Power of Attorney that you use to give someone authority over your financial matters. Unlike a Living Will it is not limited to situations in which you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious.

Living Will

A Living Will is a document that allows you to establish, in advance, the type of medical care you would want to receive if you were to become permanently unconscious, or if you were to become terminally ill and unable to tell your doctor or family what kind of life-sustaining treatments you want to receive.

Regardless of your condition, if you were able to speak and tell your doctor what you want to do about life-prolonging treatments, then the Living Will would not be used. Your doctor would just talk directly to you about your wishes.

This is information only, and is not legal advice. Contact an attorney for legal advice. Never sign any legal document without consulting an attorney first.

The Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging, Inc. provides FREE wellness programs to older adults and caregivers across our service area. Programs include falls prevention workshops, chronic disease self-management workshops, and diabetes self-management workshops. 

For more information or to schedule a workshop your community, contact Megan at (567) 247-6503 or meganthomas@aaa5ohio.org.