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"The Smallest Act of Kindness...Is Worth More Than...The Grandest Intention"
~Oscar Wilde~  

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Finding the resources to help in your situation can be overwhelming. 
The resources below are from leading experts in this field to help. 

Caregiving can be stressful. Get the help you need. 

  • Are you a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's or dementia? 
  • Do you feel overwhelmed? 
You may be putting your own health at risk. Take our Caregiver Stress Check and get resources that can help.

Click here to take the Caregiver stress test 
The AAA 1-B Advisory Council Ad Hoc Study Committee on Caregiving Technology examined the unmet needs of family caregivers, and assessed the extent to which there are technologies available to address these areas of need. They concluded that there are an incredible number of existing and emerging technologies to address caregiving concerns, and that most are relatively unknown to caregivers.  This research resulted in the publication of the Caregiver Technology Solutions booklet, which features 47 different technologies targeted to caregivers.
Alzheimer's caregiving takes patience and flexibility. To reduce frustration, consider these tips for daily tasks from limiting choices and reducing distractions to creating a safe environment.

Click here for the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Care and Practical Tips
MedlinePlus is the National Institutes of Health's Web site for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library, it brings you information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand. MedlinePlus offers reliable, up-to-date health information, anytime, anywhere, free.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine 
Caring for someone who has Alzheimer's Disease (AD) can be stressful and overwhelming. 
It is important to take care of yourself. Ask for and accept help.

National Institute on Aging
Easy-to-Use Guide for persons 
Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease.

One of the most devastating forms of memory loss is Alzheimer's disease, an irreversible and progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. Today, Alzheimer's is the second most-feared illness in America, following cancer, and may affect as many as five million Americans. As the baby-boom generation moves through retirement, that number could soar to more than 11 million by 2040, and have a huge economic impact on America's already fragile healthcare system.

While there is no cure for the disease, The Alzheimer's Project shows there is now genuine reason to be optimistic about the future. Created by the award-winning team behind HBO's acclaimed "Addiction" project, this multi-platform series takes a close look at groundbreaking discoveries made by the country's leading scientists, as well as the effects of this debilitating and fatal disease both on those with Alzheimer's and on their families.
HBO~"The Alzheimer's Project" is a presentation of HBO Documentary Films and the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health in association with the Alzheimer's Association®, Fidelity® Charitable Gift Fund, and Geoffrey Beene Gives Back ® Alzheimer's Initiative. The series' producer is John Hoffman; the executive producers are Sheila Nevins and Maria Shriver.
Alzheimer's Disease in the Elderly 
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear after age 60. 

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older people. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning, thinking, remembering, reasoning, and behavioral abilities, to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.

Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of daily living.

Caregivers for Alzheimer's and Dementia Face Special Challenges
You are not alone. Whether you need information about early-stage caregiving,middle-stage caregiving, or late-stage caregiving, the Alzheimer's Association is here to help.

 
Other Publications

  • Helping a person with dementia make financial plans Money Matters

Government Programs You Can Access for Your Elderly Parents

Caregiving for an aging parent may stretch the budget as well as the caregiver's endurance -- that is, if you are not aware of scores of federal, state and even local government programs. 

Access to assistance is as close as your computer, and, in most cases, you can apply online. Start by accessing two sites:

www.Govbenefits.gov - Gather up all the information you can on your elderly parent's health, disability, income, wealth (as in property owned), whether a military veteran, education level and more. Access this site and answer every question that you can. Then, push the button and, within minutes, the site will respond with a list, details, and access information for many, even scores, of beneficial government programs, supplements, and/or services.

www.Benefitscheckup.org - This non-profit site will ask many of the same questions but may report added programs, details, and contacts.

Top 10 programs everyone who is caring for an aging parent should know about

Medicare
There is more to Medicare than just the Part A hospital and Part B medical insurance coverage. If your aging parent is 65 or older and collecting Social Security, the insurance premiums are deducted from monthly benefits. Medicare subsidizes part D prescription drug coverage through payments to private company insurers who then fund an average of 90 percent of the cost of prescription drugs.

If your parent is considered low income, receiving only Social Security, Medicare may subsidize all but about $10 of the monthly premiums. Ask and you may find a great cost saving for your parent. Medicare: www.medicare.gov Medicare Part D

Social Security
If your parent's Social Security benefits were earned based on lower-paying jobs, and if the benefits are the only source of income, there may be a larger monthly benefit available by applying for its Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The program may be operated federally or in conjunction with your state government. The welfare-based Medicaid program is also administered through the Social Security Administration, though the operation may be directed by your state government.
Administration on Aging (AoA)The AoA administers many national programs and services for elders, including health insurance counseling, legal assistance, protection from elder abuse and long-term care. The banner on the website has a link to Elders and Families, your starting point. This section also offers a specific link and service For Caregivers (see the left hand column.) www.aoa.gov
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
If your aging parent is a military veteran and has a service-related disability, you may be able to apply for an increase in benefits, particularly if the disability has worsened over time. If he or she needs continuing medical care because of the disability, an application for medical benefits, hospitalization and prescription drugs may be submitted. There are several types and levels of VA compensation and pension programs. The VA has been slow in processing claims the past few years, but there is continuing pressure by Congress and the Administration to speed up its service. www.va.gov
HIPAA 
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1966 provides your elderly parent privacy of his or her medical records. It is a regulation and restriction program on health care providers. The protection should be of concern to you and other family members because, unless your parent signs a form designating each of you as approved to discuss your medical concerns with the physician, he or she cannot do such, even if you prove your family connection. Better sooner than later, access the HIPAA website for the information and forms, or secure the forms from a physician, and file copies with every health care professional involved in your parent's care. HIPAA.gov
United States Department of JusticeIf your parent has a disability, particularly with physical movement, learn about the Americans with Disability Act administered by the U.S. Department of Justice. Its ADA website offers briefings and cost-free publications on the regulations to grant universal access to the disabled.
Food and Drug Administration
Your aging parent is probably taking five to as many as 10 different prescription drugs, perhaps prescribed by different doctors. As caregiver, you should be aware of every one of the drugs, know its mission in the body and, particularly the side effects and conflicts with other medications. You want to watch for a danger known as polypharmacy.

The federal Food and Drug Administration offers a giant database on every drug approved by the agency, listing active ingredients, purpose, or mission of the medication, dosing recommendations and the side effects and conflicts.  
Your U.S. Senator
Every senator has a staff specialist on elder affairs, programs, and services, probably in major cities of your state plus in Washington, D.C. The staff person can both advise and advocate for benefits or services for your parent. Know that bureaucrats listen immediately to an aide for a United States Senator. www.senate.gov 
Your Congressional Representative most Representatives in the United States Congress also have staff specialists on elder affairs, programs, and services and can provide both information and advocacy. www.house.gov
Area Agency on Aging
There is a federally mandated Area Agency on Aging in your county or city. This agency is staffed by professionals who know every elder program and service, including available funding sources, in your area. Staff is often aided by volunteers who serve as drivers for transport and Meals-on-Wheels, for respite services and other duties.

Gather up the same information you collected for the two sites detailing the national, and even state, programs for which your parent may qualify and make an appointment to meet with a counselor at the Area Agency on Aging. The staff person can advise regarding programs and qualifications and even help prepare the necessary applications and documentation. Often, the counselor will even call a recommended agency, program, or service to advise that your application is headed their way.

Access your Area Agency on Aging through your telephone book and call the office for an appointment, at which time you should also ask if they have a website that you can access in advance of an in-person visit.

In Summary

Using these resources, caregivers can gain a world of vital information as well as increased income and services for their aging parents. In addition, you just may find caregiving less stressful and demanding.

10 Signs of Caregiver Stress
The demands on a person who is taking care of elderly parents result in a great deal of stress. If caregivers are not careful, they jeopardize their own health and well-being.

The demands on a person who is taking care of elderly parents result in a great deal of stress. If caregivers are not careful, they jeopardize their own health and well-being.

A study of family caregivers found that those who experience caregiving-related stress have a 63% higher mortality rate than non-caregivers of the same age. There are several reasons why stress occurs, such as working too much, not sleeping enough, having to deal with family and work at the same time, and not having as many hours in the day as you need to take care of yourself.

Remember you cannot care for your loved one if you are ill yourself. The first step in dealing with caregiver stress is to recognize the signs. Then, you can find ways to deal with it and enlist support or medical help when needed.

  • Depression Symptoms include constant sadness, feelings of hopelessness and increased crying. 
  • Withdrawal This can occur if you are depressed. You may not wish to see family and friends. You may stop taking part in things you used to enjoy. 
  • Anxiety You may feel anxious to get things done or you may feel that you do not have enough time, or about facing another day and what the future holds. 
  • Anger You may start yelling at your loved one more, or have difficulty controlling your temper with other people. Caregivers often become angry with their loved one because they are sacrificing their own lives to care for them. Feeling angry with family members for not helping is also common. 
  • Loss of concentration You are constantly thinking about your loved one and everything that you need to do. As a result, you have difficulty concentrating at home or at work. 
  • Changes in eating habits This results in weight gain or loss, as well as increased illness. 
  • Insomnia You may feel tired, but cannot sleep. On the other hand, you may not feel tired even if your body is tired. You also may wake up in the middle of the night or have nightmares and stressful dreams. 
  • Exhaustion If you frequently wake up feeling you cannot get out of bed despite a good night's sleep, you are in distress. 
  • Drinking or smoking. You may find that you are drinking or smoking more. Or, you start drinking or smoking when you have not in the past. 
  • Health problems You may catch colds or the flu more often than usual. This is particularly common in caregivers who do not take care of themselves, by not eating properly and exercising. 
Resource by agingcare.com       
                                           
Aging Parents and Elder Care (Senior Care) packed with articles, comprehensive checklists and links to key resources, this site is designed to help families sort through issues surrounding elder care.
Caregiver Action Network is a non-profit organization providing education, peer support, and resources to family caregivers across the country free of charge.
Family Caregiver Alliance - National Center on Caregiving information library currently includes nearly 100 different Fact Sheets and  publications on caregiving issues for families, health and service providers, program developers and policy makers.  We develop and post new publications on an ongoing basis..." 
MI Choice Medicaid Program is a Medicaid home and community-based waiver program providing an alternative to nursing home care administered by the Michigan Department of Community Health. Funded by state and matching federal Medicaid dollars, this program provides low-income elderly and disabled individuals with Medicaid-covered services comparable to those provided in nursing homes but within the person’s own home. Eligible persons must be 18 or older with a disability, or elderly (65 years or older) with an income that is no more than 300% of the eligibility level for adults receiving Medicaid, which is 100% of the Federal Poverty Level or eligibility for Supplemental Security Income. 
Michigan Programs to Support Family Caregivers by Laura Bates ~ Michigan,Michigan has four programs that provide some level of support to family caregivers. The largest program, MI Choice, is a Medicaid home and community-based waiver program administered by the Michigan Department of Community Health. One other federal and two state funded programs are administered by the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) at the state level and by the 16 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) at the local level. Because requirements and funding streams differ, she will discuss each program separately.   

Monroe County Opportunity Program ~Caregiver Respite ~For more information, contact Michelle Freel at 734-241-2775 ext: 216
National Caregivers Library is one of the largest single sources of information and tools for caregivers and seniors in the country.  It makes it resources available to caregivers free through alliances with professionals, businesses and other organizations who serve seniors and their caregivers with a variety of products and services. 

The library consists of hundreds of useful articles, forms, checklists and links to topic-specific external resources. It is organized into logical categories that address the key needs of caregivers and their loved ones.

The library also includes an entire section for employers.  It provides tools to help employers understand the impact of caregiving on their people and on the organization itself.  It provides tools to help identify the organizational costs of working caregivers and ways to analyze, justify, develop and implement Caregiving and Eldercare programs to help employees.
 

Pleural Mesothelioma is Asbestos exposure that causes thousands of cases of pleural mesothelioma in the United States each year, and our mission is to help the families affected by this cancer. Our organization offers free assistance and resources to anyone coping with pleural mesothelioma. For more information, visit our site by clicking here or call toll free at 1-855-593-3419 to speak with a Patient Advocate. 

 

Strength for Caring ~Johnson & Johnson is expanding our commitment to caregivers by working with AARP to offer a wide range of valuable, expert information and the ability to connect with other caregivers. Johnson & Johnson and AARP are dedicated to improving caregiving resources for over 42 million family caregivers who provide support for older loved ones every day.

***Please Note***

These links and listings are meant to be a resource guide for those looking for resources in our community. 
This list is not all inclusive of those resources available in our community.

The Monroe County Commission on Aging makes no specific endorsement of these listings, links or services. 
Please feel free to contact our office with any changes or corrections.

Thank you for visiting the Monroe County Commission on Aging web site.