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Office for the Aging

Breadcrumb Start you are here >Home/Caregivers

CAREGIVERS

Who is a Caregiver – Click Here

Recognizing Caregiver Stress – Click Here

Caregivers of the Elderly - Click Here

Caregivers Of Persons With Intellectual And Developmental Disabilities - Click Here

Grandparents as Caregivers – Click Here

Self-Help and Support Groups - Click Here

Respite Services - Click Here

WHO IS A CAREGIVER?

The caregiver of a frail older person may be a spouse, an adult child, a sibling or other close relative or friend. He or she may live in the same household or many miles away. A caregiver’s responsibility for the frail person may entail twenty-four hours, seven days a week assistance, or may be on a much more limited basis.

Some caregivers provide hands-on assistance with the most intimate aspects of care; others assist with transportation, daily chores, meals, etc. Many provide financial support and help to organize the recruitment of people who can provide assistance.

Caregivers provide the physical and emotional support that enables their loved ones to remain in the community for as long as possible.

The number of caregivers in New York State who provide assistance to a loved one is estimated to be more than 2.2 million individuals. These caregivers provide the majority of care for the frail elderly living in the community who require some assistance with routine tasks of daily living. Nearly 80% of caregivers are women. They dedicate an average of 21 hours each week to their caregiving responsibilities, and even more time when the person has multiple disabilities. Almost one-third of all caregivers are also employed and must balance work and caregiving responsibilities. Although only one in four of all caregivers is over the age of 66, this is the group of caregivers that is providing the most intensive care to a loved one.

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RECOGNIZING CAREGIVER STRESS

Caregiving for a loved one can provide personal satisfaction, but it can also be stressful. Stress can be caused by a number of factors. There may be poor communication with the care receiver, leading to misinformation or no information about the loved one’s needs or feelings. There may be growing feelings of concern and despair at witnessing the deteriorating health and increasing dependence of a loved one. Those caregivers who are also juggling the responsibilities of a family or job, may feel their caregiving duties have placed too many demands on their limited time.

HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESS

Improve Communication

Learn how to ask for information on your loved one’s needs and recognize the importance of communicating your own needs and feelings. Talk out daily problems as much as possible and do not let frustrations build.

Ask for Help

Identify other family members, friends or agencies who can provide assistance to the care receiver and ask for their help. Ask someone to assume a responsibility that will give you more time to devote to other efforts.

Take Care of Yourself

Try to eat well, get enough sleep and see a doctor when your health needs change.

Make Time for Yourself

Try to take some time away from your responsibilities as often as possible to care for your own needs.

Plan for the Future

It helps to identify programs or services that can be tapped at a later date when the care receiver’s needs may change. Although it is wise to take one day at a time, it is best to be prepared in the event an emergency arises and decisions must be made in a very short period of time.

The Nassau County Office for the Aging has information on resources and options for care in the event an older person becomes frail or disabled. Trained staff assists those who may want to plan for future needs and caregivers who may require help to meet a loved one’s current needs. Call the Senior HELP-LINE at (516) 227-8900 to speak with a counselor who will be pleased to offer all possible assistance.

  1. Identify Potential Eligibility for Benefits and Services:
    Benefits CheckUp provides an opportunity to enter basic information such as age, address, and income to identify a variety of programs and services that may be of assistance.
    www.benefitscheckup.org

  2. Locate a Plan that Meets Your Needs:
    The Medicare - Plan Finder is a very user friendly program, and is based on one’s zip code.  It provides information on plan options and fees for Part D Drug plans and Managed Care plans in one’s home county.
    www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx

  3. Identify Issues to Consider to Meet Potential Long Term Care Needs:
    Long Term Care information that explains the importance of planning ahead and details personal and financial planning steps. It also includes important housing considerations and legal issues to weigh when planning for long-term care.
    http://longtermcare.gov/

  4. Identify Health Insurance Options:
    The New York State Department of Health provides the Official Health Plan Marketplace for a quick comparison of plans and information on free or low cost medical insurance.
    https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov/individual

  5. Compare Nursing Homes:
    Nursing Home Compare, has a listing of every Medicare and Medicaid-certified facility in the country.  It utilizes a five star quality rating system and addresses both health and staff reports.  It offers a user friendly search based on one’s geographic parameters.
    www.medicare.gov/NHCompare/home.asp

  6. Become More Health-Savvy:
    The National Institute on Aging, a section of the National Institute of Health, offers cutting edge medical information on the advances in the geriatric health community. It also offers free publications on a wide variety of subjects.
    www.nia.nih.gov/health

Gather Important Documents

Most experts recommend a folder of documents that family members can access in case of an emergency. These documents can be kept with an attorney, in a safe deposit box, or at home in a fireproof safe (give someone else the combination).

Documents to be gathered and organized:

  1. Original copy of the will: dated, witnessed and notarized.
  2. Letter of instruction containing the names of attorneys, accountants, financial advisors and funeral arrangements.
  3. Durable power of attorney for financial matters.
  4. Housing deeds or leases, land ownership; cemetery plots; vehicles; stock certificates and savings bonds; partnership or corporate operating agreements; a list of brokerage and escrow mortgage accounts.
  5. Make a list of any loans made to others.  Similarly make a list of debts owed to others.
  6. Keep the most recent three years of tax returns together and available.
  7. Keep a list of all accounts, including account number, location, and log in information used on internet financial accounts.
  8. List any safe deposit boxes and identify the location of the key.  Register a spouse and/or child with the bank and ask them to sign a registration card for the bank so they have access to it without a court order.
  9. Health Care Proxy, Authorization to Release Healthcare Information and a Living Will that is specific to the state of residence.
  10. Copy of life insurance policies, names of carriers, policy number, and agent (s) associated with the policies.
  11. List of pensions, annuities, individual retirement accounts (IRA) and 401k’s.
  12. Marriage License, divorce judgment and decree if appropriate.
This task may seem daunting, but take the time to organize these documents in advance of an emergency. Gathering and organizing, with the help of your loved one will be much easier, and you will both feel more secure when the papers are in order.

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CAREGIVERS OF THE ELDERLY

As the average individual life span continues to increase, the number of persons who will become caregivers of an older parent or relative also increases. Adult children must deal with the demands of their careers, responsibility for the needs of their own children and those of their aging or ailing parents. Involvement in care of elderly parents may start with widowhood and/or illness and includes helping with financial affairs, home care, transportation, and other health and welfare issues. Many programs and services are available. Professional HELPLINE staff is able to provide appropriate information, referral, and individualized assistance. Contact:

NASSAU COUNTY OFFICE FOR THE AGING

(516) 227-8900

NASSAU*NYCONNECTS
The Office for the Aging is the lead agency for implementation of Nassau*NYConnects, a single point of entry system for persons of all ages who require long term care services. Trained staff provides information about available resources and assists persons to access programs and services that will enable them to remain in their homes and communities for as long as possible. In addition, the program has developed a comprehensive database of practical resources to assist individuals and their caregivers with their long term care decisions.

Nassau*NYConnects (Nassau HELP-LINE): (516) 227 8900
Nassau*NYConnects Resource Database www.nassaucountyny.gov/PublicCRD/

CAREGIVER RESOURCE CENTER

To meet the needs of informal caregivers who provide care to the frail elderly, the Office has established a Caregiver Resource Center. This Center conducts information and education activities relevant to caregiving and has a library of resource materials available. Staff distributes Department publications and other materials that provide helpful hints on caring for a frail person at home. Click Here for a listing of Department resources, many of which are of interest to caregivers.

NASSAU COUNTY OFFICE FOR THE AGING
60 Charles Lindbergh Boulevard
Uniondale, NY 11553
(516) 227-8900

WEBSITES OF INTEREST

Alzheimer's Association Care Finder http://www.alz.org/care/overview.asp
Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center (ADEAR) http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers
Eldercare Online www.ec-online.net
Family Caregiver Alliance www.caregiver.org
Medicare http://medicare.gov/
National Institute of Health www.medlineplus.gov
Next Step in Care www.nextstepincare.org
US Department of Health and Human Services www.longtermcare.gov
www.healthfinder.gov

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CAREGIVERS OF PERSONS WITH INTELLECTUAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES

WEBSITES OF INTEREST

New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities www.opwdd.ny.gov/
New York State Arc (NYSARC, Inc.) www.nysarc.org
New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council www.ddpc.ny.gov

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GRANDPARENTS AS CAREGIVERS

Many grandparents find themselves as primary or secondary caregivers to their grandchildren, often due to sudden or unplanned changes in the lives of their adult children. They need help to ease the stress of caring for young children when energy and financial resources may be quite limited. Grandparent caregivers often face legal issues such as custody, adoption, guardianship and foster care. They struggle with financial, educational and health concerns. The following resources may be helpful.

SUPPORT GROUPS

The Office for the Aging has initiated a monthly support group for grandparents who love and are concerned about the welfare of their grandchildren. The group discusses issues of interest, develops coping skills and provides support to each other. Call for information:        (516) 227-8945

AARP

AARP has a web page with resource information for grandparents, including visitation rights, tips for raising grandchildren, an online support group and resource materials. www.aarp.org/families/grandparents

GENERATIONS UNITED

This organization promotes intergenerational strategies, programs and public policies. It has information and links to other resources.

www.gu.org

GRANDSPLACE

This organization provides an online place where grandparents can seek support and comfort.

www.grandsplace.org

NEW YORK STATE KINSHIP NAVIGATOR
Through this on-line statewide resource, individuals can access information on laws, legal rights, issues on custody and visitation, eligibility for benefits and entitlement programs, tax credits, respite care and other local services. (toll-free) 1-877-454-6463
www.nysnavigator.org

NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF GRANDPARENTS FOR CHILDREN'S RIGHTS
This committee is a coalition of concerned grandparents, citizens and agencies, with chapters throughout the United States. Their mission is to advocate and lobby for substantial and urgent legislative changes that protect the rights of grandparents to secure their grandchildren's health, happiness and well-being. They are committed to monitoring agencies that affect grandchildren at the city, county, state and federal levels and to protecting the rights of grandparents and the needs of at risk grandchildren.

School of Social Welfare
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794
1- 866-624-9900

www.grandparentsforchildren.org

OTHER WEBSITES OF INTEREST

Foundation for Grandparenting www.grandparenting.org
Full Circle of Care www.fullcirclecare.org
Grandparents.com www.grandparents.com
US Government www.usa.gov/Topics/Grandparents.shtml

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SELF-HELP AND SUPPORT GROUPS

Self-help and support groups are clusters of people who share a common condition or problem, and who come together to offer one another the benefit of their experience and mutual support. Self-help groups have arisen to respond to almost every imaginable need and they continue to grow in number and influence throughout our country. There are groups for caregivers; people who have arthritis, diabetes, or other illnesses; families of cancer patients; the widowed; and children of aging parents. The groups are usually begun by patients themselves or their families. Often there is a facilitator/organizer who coordinates the meetings and helps the group focus on important issues. Most groups hold regular meetings, which include group discussions in which members share experiences and offer support to one another. Often a professional in the field of health care is invited to be a guest speaker. Some groups publish newsletters which serve to educate their members. Most are nonprofit, some have nominal dues.


The Nassau County Office for the Aging coordinates monthly support groups for caregivers of the frail elderly in Long Beach and Elmont. For dates, times, and locations, call: (516) 227-8900.

There are many other support groups meeting throughout Nassau County. They are sponsored by: adult day care programs, churches, synagogues, disease-focused organizations, hospitals, libraries, school district adult education programs, senior centers, “Y’s,” and community social service agencies. Check with local groups, or call:

NASSAU COUNTY OFFICE FOR THE AGING (516) 227-8900

DOROT

DOROT coordinates support groups through its University Without Walls Program. These programs use telephone conference calls to link participants, and no special equipment is needed. Contact DOROT for information and a catalog.

1-212-769-2850

1-877-819-9147

www.dorotusa.org

WELL SPOUSE FOUNDATION

This national network of well spouses (husbands or wives of chronically ill persons) offers emotional support and advocates for programs that help families deal with chronic illness. For information on a Well Spouse Group in Nassau County, call:

1-800-838-0879

www.wellspouse.org

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RESPITE SERVICES

Respite services provide an opportunity for caregivers to have some time away from their caregiving responsibilities. Trained and supervised companions watch the patient for a specified period of time so the caregiver can leave and feel secure that their loved one is safe.

Adult day service programs offer respite for the caregiver in addition to providing stimulating activities for the frail older person. Click Here for information on Adult Day Services.

Programs are also available to provide short-term respite services in the home. Call for information.

EAC, Inc.

Senior Respite Program (516) 539-0150
50 Clinton Street, Suite 211 ext.217
Hempstead, NY 11550 www.eac.org

The Senior Respite Program offers in-home supervision for older adults with chronic disease or dementia. There is a sliding scale fee.

Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation

Alzheimer’s Companion Program (516) 767-6856
5 Channel Drive www.liaf.org
Port Washington, NY 11050  

The Alzheimer’s Companion Program offers short term respite care every other week to families of persons suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias in this program funded by the Nassau County Office for the Aging. There is a suggested contribution for this service.