The role of a caregiver often begins before the caregiver even realizes they have a new job. At first maybe you’re changing light bulbs or raking leaves for your widowed mother. And as she gets older, you do a bit more – help her pay her bills or run errands in your car. And suddenly, she needs help with daily living and you’re in the unenviable position of having to make difficult decisions about her future. What do you do once you’re one of Nevada’s 364,000 family caregivers?
One of the best things you can do for both of you is to have a frank conversation about the future early on, learn what your loved wants so that you are better prepared to address long term care needs. AARP has a guide, Prepare to Care, which walks you through having the conversation with your loved one, engaging other family members and friends to help, locate resources and build in opportunities for you to get some respite during the long road ahead.
Already a Caregiver? There’s help for you too.
AARP offers an excellent online Caregiving Resource Center www.aarp.org/caregiving, which provides tips on what you need to consider as a caregiver--from housing options to legal considerations and everything in between. We offer a Caregiver Support Line for individual follow-up questions, a Caregivers Online Support Group, an online message posting board and so much more on our Caregiving Resource Center.
Local services exist for family caregivers as well. The Nevada Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) can help by providing information and access to programs and services that benefit Nevada’s seniors, people with disabilities and their caregivers. The ADRC program is a one-stop portal made possible through the collaboration of many public programs offering long term support to consumers in need.
Though caregiving can be a challenging job; it can also be incredibly rewarding. You do not need to do it alone. There are many support services available and by doing your homework you can create a positive experience for you and your loved ones.