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AARP Membership Offers Caregiver Support

A great resource for caregivers every step of the way

AARP offers lots of benefits to its members, from publications and advocacy to discounts but caregivers should look to AARP for comprehensive information as well. The best way to find this information is to look on AARP’s main website, and you’ll see a sidebar labeled “Discounts & Benefits”. A link to caregiving resources is included here.

Some people are overwhelmed by the process, and don’t know where to start once a loved one is in need. AARP understands how painful and confusing the caregiving journey can be, so the site offers a “Get Started” link under “Caregiving Essentials” that helps provide a step-by-step method of assessing your situation.

Many caregivers are adult children who have their own families, work responsibilities and other daily challenges to tackle in addition to providing care. “Caregiving Essentials” also provides an overview of how to give care and when you might need help from a home health care agency or other outside services.

Housing options are also an issue in caregiving. Even if a family caregiver has space in his or her own home for an aging parent, it might not be a practical arrangement. Many more options are now available than a traditional nursing home, including assisted living, “green houses” that offer communal living with health care workers on site, and continuing care communities that offer apartments with the ability to transition to more direct care onsite. The “Housing Options” link not only explains various options but provides links to resources in your area.

A loved one may be in a position where he or she cannot make legal or financial decisions appropriately, and needs protection from fraud or abuse. The “Legal and Financial Matters” link will help explain how to protect a loved one’s rights or arrange finances to help pay for long-term care. A power of attorney may be needed for someone who can no longer make important decisions without assistance.

Another important component of caregiving is the need for the caregiver him or herself not to experience “burn-out” or excessive stress. “Care for Caregivers” (also referred to as respite care) provides resources for how to manage the additional responsibilities of caregiving, be they emotional, physical or financial.

An additional link is also provided for “End of Life” issues, such as the need for an advance directive or other documents that help ensure that a loved one has his or her wishes met regarding medical decisions. Having these documents prepared before a crisis – and before a loved one is unable to speak for him or herself – will help ensure that the family is making decisions that are in their loved ones’ best interests. This section also addresses palliative and hospice care.

AARP’s website also offers free webinars and online supports groups to help navigate the caregiving experience.

Living your best life often includes caring for others, and AARP wants to help you along the way.

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