Caring for the Caregiver

Written by Theresa Rose on October 27, 2015

Contact: Peggy Dykes, Community Relations Director
pdykes@milestonesaaa.org or 563-324-9085, ext 212
For November 2015

Annually November is noted as National Family Caregiver Month. We recognize and celebrate individuals who care for family members and friends by helping them maintain their independence and quality of life. Many people do not think of themselves as a “caregiver”, but helping with rides to the doctor, shopping, preparing meals, bill paying, bathing, grooming, dressing, housekeeping, walking or transferring to a wheelchair, managing medications or arranging services are all examples of the tasks that family caregivers assist with on a daily basis.
Caregivers play various roles, often looking after multiple generations at a time. This can be especially difficult when caregivers are coping with disabilities and other obstacles to healthcare. Long term care in Iowa is expensive, costing families anywhere from $15,000-$67,000 each year (depending on level of care and income restrictions). Caregivers help keep healthcare costs down and provide personal care that many facilities cannot. It is important to utilize community resources like those found at Milestones Area Agency on Aging and other Aging and Disability Resource Centers throughout Iowa.
The family caregiver support program provides resources and information for caregivers in many different situations. Some caregivers need assistance finding transportation, gaining access to services, or receiving respite care and supplemental services, while others require help making decisions about long-term care supports. Family caregiver specialists are there to listen and understand each person’s unique situation. They can provide resources for the present and help plan for future caregiving needs.
Milestones AAA services for caregivers include information assistance and referrals to individuals or through family consultations. Respite care, support groups, educational workshops and the grandparents raising grandchildren program are provided in various counties.
There are three ways to reach a Family Caregiver Specialist: by phone toll free at 855-410-6222; email info@milestonesaaa.org or on the internet at www.milestonesaaa.org