Family caregivers are the often forgotten backbone of the American healthcare system. According to AARP, over 20% of adults have provided unpaid care to someone in the last 12 months, and that number is expected to grow. Research clearly links becoming an unpaid family caregiver with an added risk of physical and mental health problems for the caregivers themselves. Together, the data shows that caregivers are both essential and under-supported. In this article, we hope to provide unpaid family caregivers with information and tools to help them find support.
General Support for Family Caregivers
The Eldercare Locator is a public service offered by the United States Administration on Aging. The goal of the Eldercare Locator is to connect elderly adults with resources that help them remain in their homes and live independently. It is a great place to find resources for elderly adults in their local area.
California Caregiver Resource Center of Orange County
The California Caregiver Resource Center of Orange County provides families with individualized support services. We focus on the needs of caregivers coping with a loved one's chronic illness(es). Our services include family consultation, assessments, care planning, counseling, referrals for additional resources, psycho-educational seminars, respite planning, and community education. We are a not-for-profit and our services are free for family caregivers.
If you’re not located in Orange County and want assistance in another part of California, click here to find your local Center.
If you’re located outside of California, the Family Caregiver Alliance can help you find a similar resource in your state.
Next Step in Care
Next Step in Care offers easy-to-use guides to help unpaid family caregivers work closely with professional healthcare providers. They specialize in improving the transition from hospital care to home care, or other facility transfers. Without proper planning, these transitions can be messy or a missed opportunity to ask questions or boost your confidence in providing care at home.
Caregiver Action Network
The Caregiver Action Network is a national resource for Caregivers providing care to an adult or child with a chronic condition, disease, or disability. They offer a toolbox for caregivers, resources, education, support groups/other types of peer support, and additional resources for free.
CareNav™ is a secure place to find information and connect with resources personalized for your situation. You can create a free account by clicking here. Once you create an account, you will fill out a quick survey that will help CareNav™ to customize your experience. Once complete, you will be connected with a professional family consultant. He or she will fill your personal dashboard with information such as:
Fact and tip sheets, videos, online classes, and support
Access to skilled Family Care Navigators/Family Consultants
Dashboard to track your information and find support
Specialty Support for Family Caregivers
If you’re in need of resources focused on disease- or ailment-specific information, here are some places to go for support.
The Alzheimer’s Association is a resource that is available both locally and nationally to support caregivers caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. They have a 24/7 helpline available by calling 1 800 272 3900, in addition to support groups, in-person training sessions, and loads of information available on their website.
The National Cancer Institute
The National Cancer Institute offers resources for caregivers helping a loved one through cancer. Many cancer patients are expected to complete portions of their treatment at home, and many caregivers feel unequipped to handle that pressure (both physically and emotionally). The National Cancer Institute offers a variety of support for caregivers in the situation.
Disabilities and Rare Conditions
If you have a loved one battling a rare condition or struggling with a disability, some of the resources offered by general caregiver support foundations may not always cover your needs. Below is a list of resources designed to support family caregivers and their loved ones battling more specific ailments. There are thousands of charities in the United States aimed at helping people through disease and aging, so if you don’t find a resource below that fits your situation, don’t give up hope—it may still be out there. Join CareNav™ to find more information or assistance.
This list is taken from caregiving.org (one of the aforementioned resources on this list).
If you are a caregiver for your loved one, we recommend you check out our article about getting paid to be a caregiver. Becoming a caregiver is difficult and expensive–out-of-pocket annual costs average in the thousands for a family caregiver. The state of California offers several paths to receiving at least partial compensation or subsidized assistance, so click here to learn more about how to get paid to be a caregiver.
For further reading and resources, we invite you to check out our library of information for family caregivers by clicking here. You are also welcome to call us at 800-543-8312 to find out more about how we can support you in your caregiving journey.