When you become a caregiver, there is no party to celebrate your new role, no packet that arrives in the mail to congratulate you, no professional who arrives at your home to inform you on what to do. When your father needs more help than you can provide, no one will call you and walk you through what’s next; when your grandmother runs out of money, there is no check that arrives in the mail to pay for her care.
That is not to say there aren’t resources for family caregivers. There are many programs, benefits and means of support, but it’s up to the caregiver and concerned family members to discover what’s out there and take advantage of the assistance.
This handy guide from the National Council on Aging offers 6 helpful programs for family caregivers (and now for the good news: most of these resources are free of charge!). We’ll highlight a few of them here:
- My Medicare Matters — a free website that offers “step-by-step help” with choosing the Medicare plan that’s best for you.
- Eldercare Locator — a free public service provided by the Administration on Aging (available via phone or the web) to connect seniors with local services.
- VA Caregiver Support — Call toll-free or get online with the VA to learn about options for veterans of all ages.