Family Caregiver Support Program
What is the Family Caregiver Support Program?
In November 2000, the U.S. Congress reauthorized the Older Americans Act with the addition of the National Family Caregiver Support Act. The new Act provides much needed focus on support programs for family caregivers. The National Family Caregiver Support Act, (The Older Americans Act, as amended in 2000, Title III, Part E) became effective November 13, 2000. The amended act provides funding for programs that focus on support services for family caregivers. North Carolina has designed and developed a comprehensive Family Caregiver Support Program. The NC Division of Aging and Adult Services works in partnership with the Area Agencies on Aging.
Who does the Family Caregiver Support Program Serve?
1. Family members or another individual who is an informal provider of in-home and community care to an individual 60 years of age or older, OR to a person of any age with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.
2. Grandparents or other relatives, 55 years of age or older, who are providing care to a child 18 years of age and younger, OR to an adult, 19-59 years of age who has a physical or mental disability.
Family caregivers provide unpaid help to older adults who are living in the community and need assistance to continue living safely in their own homes. They include spouses, adult children, adult relatives, and friends.
These caregivers may provide assistance such as shopping, bathing, dressing, or preparing meals, or they might arrange for and oversee services such as home maintenance, paying bills, or other like services.
Though it is often rewarding, caregiving can be stressful – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Often, caregivers are seniors themselves.
You are a caregiver if you…
- Provide personal care for a loved one (such as bathing, dressing, toileting, meal or feeding task, aiding in walking/movement).
- Perform task to help such as…(errands, shopping, budgeting, medical appointments, home repairs and chores, and transportation).
- Seek assistance and/or formal services (i.e., hiring or needing someone to stay with your loved one).
- Consider long-term care or placement (making the decision to place your loved one and then your level of improvement after placement).
- Coping with loss (when death, end of life issues, or just a change in the relationship brings out difficult adjustments for you).
- To take care of myself, to rest when tired, to eat well, to take breaks from caregiving when I need them.
- To recognize the limits of my own endurance and strength.
- To seek help from family, involved parties, and the community at large.
- To socialize, maintain my interest, and do things I enjoy.
- To acknowledge my feelings, whether positive or negative, including frustration, anger, and depression; and to express them in a healthy manner.
- To take pride in the valuable work I do, and to applaud the courage and strength it takes to meet the needs of my loved one
- To prevent burnout.
- To help find information and resources.
- To receive education and training on caregiving issues.
- For counseling and support groups that help with problems and emotions.
- To help families in planning the care that best meets their needs.
- To receive respite services.
- Information about available services.
- Assistance in gaining access to services.
- Support services, such as,
- Individual Counseling
- Support Groups
- Caregiver Training
- Respite care services
- Supplemental services
Ashleigh Glover, Family Caregiver Resource Specialist
Upper Coastal Plain Area Agency on Aging