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Four Resources Designed with Caregivers in Mind

Sometimes we forget that caregiving is a two way street. When people think of caregiving, it’s usually the person that is being cared for that comes to mind. That’s why if you do a quick Google search of the word caregiver, you’ll find a wealth of information about how to hire a caregiver, or the best way to care for specific conditions, but only a fraction of those sites are dedicated to providing care tips for the caregiver themselves.

There are, of course, many ways to care for yourself as a caregiver, but I want to focus specifically on the community resources that are available. Many people I talk to are either unfamiliar with the following programs or unintentionally overlook them. Each of the following programs is designed to prevent caregivers from becoming exhausted and burning out.

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Adult Day Care:

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There are three basic types of adult day care: health, social, and memory day care. Health-focused day care centers have the ability to care for people who need intensive care and constant supervision. Seniors in health-focused day cares generally require a level of care consistent with that of a nursing home. Social oriented day cares provide recreation, group exercises, meals, and very limited health-related services. And lastly, memory day care, as you’ve probably guessed, is devoted to people with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other forms of memory loss. 

Those who receive day care are charged on a day-by-day basis. Although it is far less expensive than moving into a care home, adult day care may not be for everyone as it is generally funded through private pay. It’s worth noting that for those who wish to use health or memory day care services, Medicaid may pay if the senior meets certain qualifications. If you do have the money to spare for adult day care, it can bring some much-deserved relief. It’s easy to forget that caregivers still have personal obligations, jobs, or perhaps just need a break. 

In-home Respite Care:

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Respite care can be done using in-home services or out of home care. Usually, people use in-home respite care to assist with non-medical tasks. For example, professionals or volunteers can come into the home and provide companionship, recreation, and meals to give the caregiver a break. Call your local senior center or area on aging because there are many organizations and non-profits ready to help.

For more care-intensive tasks or even medical assistance, there are agencies that can send professionals to a patient’s home. Depending on medical and financial standing, the state may help pay for some forms of respite care. 

Out of Home Respite Programs:

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For out of home respite care, caregivers can use an adult day care center as mentioned above, or find a participating group home, memory care facility, assisted living, or any other licensed residential facility. Out of home respite care is similar to adult day care in that it provides short term, out of the home, professional care.

Essentially, a facility provides temporary care, giving the caregiver relief for as long as they need. There are planned and emergency services and many caregivers only think to use this when there is an emergency. It’s good to plan ahead though because not every facility offers respite care. Also, every home has different rates. Some will even take long-term care insurance plans or veteran’s benefits. 

Community Waivers and Medicaid:

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Beyond medical insurance and long-term care services, Medicaid also offers community waivers. Home and community based services, commonly abbreviated to HCBS waivers, include homemaker services, adult day health services, personal care, in-home respite care, out of home respite care, home health, medical alert devices, and more. By providing HCBS waivers, the state is hoping seniors can safely age in place for a longer period of time.

Before receiving HCBS waivers, people must apply to Medicaid and be accepted. There are different rules than regular Medicaid and applicants must meet strict medical and financial eligibility requirements. Each state has different instructions, so review your eligibility with a state-by-state guide. Along with different qualifications, each state also has different programs. You should call your local Medicaid office to see what’s offered in your area. 

Max Gottlieb works with Senior Planning in Phoenix, Arizona. Senior Planning deals extensively with Arizona Medicaid along with the programs mentioned above.

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Comments

Bill Scotland 4:46 PM on August 15, 2017
really great tips!
Celina Wadcock 2:29 PM on August 16, 2017
caregivers almost never get a break, it is a full time job. it can be easy to forget to care for yourself
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