Caring for a family member, friend, or neighbor who is sick or has a disability can be a difficult and demanding job. The National Paralysis Resource Center website, supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides resources to help caregivers manage their responsibilities.
Joining a support group can give caregivers the boost they need to get through the week. Caregiver health is becoming an increasingly important public health issue. Evidence shows that most caregivers are ill-prepared for their role and provide care with little or no support, and yet more than a third of caregivers continue to provide intensive care to others, while they themselves suffer from health problems. Improving the recognition and treatment of physical and psychological symptoms among caregivers is a growing health problem and should be considered a public health priority.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has authorized several states to offer structured family care, where the family caregiver can be paid and additional supports can be provided. An estimated 53 million Americans provide free care services while caring for a family member or friend who needs help with daily tasks. Whether you're caring for an older parent or caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, there are a variety of online and in-person resources available to help. Support groups offer advice on emotional support and care, as well as information on community resources. Connecting with other caregivers can provide strength and assurance that you are not alone. If the person you're caring for has a disability or chronic condition and is eligible for Medicaid, you may qualify for financial assistance that can be used to purchase necessary services and supports in the home and community, including paying the family caregiver or paying for a temporary benefit.
It's essential that caregivers schedule downtime to take care of themselves.