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Alabama Cares: Care for the Caregivers
Caregivers play a vital role in helping seniors maintain their health and independence. Although caregiving is rewarding, its demands can have a negative effect on the health and well-being of the caregivers themselves–especially concerning emotional impact. For example, caregivers of stroke survivors and individuals with dementia are at higher risk for depression and anxiety disorders.
Alabama Cares, a program of the United Way Area Agency on Aging, is here to help caregivers with the issues that may arise from their unique responsibilities, demands, and stress of caregiving.
The better the caregiver, the better the care
Alabama Cares provides services that inform, educate, and assist caregivers in tending to the personal needs of their aged or frail loved ones. The program is designed to help families keep their loved ones at home for as long as possible, thereby preventing premature nursing home placement. It was established as part of the National Family Caregiver Support Program and offers five specific types of services.
- Information Services – Helpful information on relevant resources within the community such as available literature, health fairs, and other special events or educational opportunities.
- Caregiver Access Assistance – A service from a trained Alabama Cares Coordinator to help caregivers assess needs and available support services.
- Caregiver Education or Counseling – Support provided to caregivers to assist them in making decisions and solving problems relating to their caregiver roles through individual counseling, support groups or caregiver training, including topics such as health, nutrition, and financial literacy.
- Caregiver Respite – Providing temporary substitutes for primary and family-member caregivers to offer them a brief period of relief from their caregiving responsibilities, including personal care, light housework, and adult daycare.
- Caregivers Supplemental Services – Providing services such as meals, assistive technologies, emergency response systems, incontinence supplies, and nutritional supplements, on a limited basis, for primary and family-member caregivers
You may be eligible for help
To qualify for Alabama Cares, an individual must be an unpaid primary caregiver for a frail adult age 60 or older, who needs help with at least three activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, walking, toileting, taking medications, cooking, and household chores. An individual may qualify as an unpaid primary family caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or a dementia-related diagnosis, regardless of the care recipient’s age.
Priority is given to those caring for people with the greatest social and economic need, as well as to family caregivers providing care and support to persons with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. There is no income limit, but voluntary contributions to help cover the cost of services are welcomed.
Alabama Cares also recognizes a special group of caregivers age 55 and older who are the primary caregivers of related children. A limited amount of funds is available for senior caregivers caring for a child/children age 18 or younger, as well as children of any age who have a mental or developmental disability that results in a functional limitation of three or more major life activities. In these cases, the caregiver must live with the child and have a legal relationship with the child.
Monthly support groups
Alabama Cares offers two distinct support groups for caregivers as well as for grandparents raising grandchildren. The purpose is to openly and confidentially discuss any issues related to your responsibilities and get helpful feedback from others in similar situations, which may help you be more effective while maintaining a positive outlook.
For more information about the services of Alabama Cares, call 1-800-AGE-LINE (1-800-243-5463).