Currently 40 million Americans give assistance to elderly or disabled friends or family members, with 1/3 of them providing more than 21 hours weekly. Caring for someone in this situation is an act of kindness but few people are prepared for the disruptions that caregivers experience. Untrained and unqualified, they struggle to help, sometimes leaving a job, putting additional financial strain on families. If the situation escalates or if some form of dementia is involved, it becomes even more difficult. It is easy to feel discouraged and overwhelmed.
With longer life expectancies and more complex medical care the need for caregivers will increase.
There are many programs and resources to help, such as small training classes to deal with immediate and future problems, meals, transportation, in home care, and chores, minor home repairs, Medicare and Medicaid counseling. Physical modifications to the home, such as grab bars in the bathroom, medical/handicap equipment such as shower benches, portable toilets, wheelchairs and walkers can alleviate many problems.
If you are experiencing needs in this area, contact Aging and Long Term Care at altcew.org or call 509 458 2509. All services are free and confidential.
Stop by the North County Food Pantry, 40115A N. Collins Rd. in Elk on Monday 11-2 and talk with Bon for additional resources. You need not be a client to access this information.