I recently came across AARP study about what caregivers need and the toll that caregiving takes on caregivers. The “caregiver’s wish list” was a list of what caregivers desired most to assist them.
The respondents could choose multiple avenues of help, so the percentages add up to more than 100%. I will list them below alphabetically…
- Driver service (21%)…have an outside agency help with transportation chores.
- Respite care (26%)…let a qualified replacement take over for a while
- Voucher program (29%)…get paid minimum wage for some hours of caregiving
- Assessment of needs (18%)…get help to connect to needed services
- Leave of absence (15%)…the ability to take a partially paid, six week leave of absence from work.
- Tax relief (56%)…claim a $3,000 caregiver’s tax credit
The funny thing was, as I read the report, was that I have covered most of the items in this report throughout my site (and the others I have to get to work on). So, let me sum up the requested items in the report and show you how you can get more information.
Caregivers Need Driver Service
It doesn’t apply to all situations but check with your local Office of the Aging. They may have a program where seniors can be taken to and from doctor appointments. My local government agency does.
Stipulations do apply (for example you have to set the appointment up weeks in advance and it is only curb-to-curb service…they have to be strong enough to get in the van by themselves) but for caregivers who can’t afford to take another day off from work this type of service could be a godsend.
Failing this I would reach out to a local Lion’s Club or to your house of worship and ask them if they know of a local volunteer organization that can assist with this.
If there is one thing caregivers need it is respite care. This is any break that a caregiver can get from their caregiving duties. It can be a for a few hours at a time going up to a full week off.
I have written extensively about this in my “Sources of Respite Care” article. Make sure to check it out as this type of service is always high on the list of what caregivers need.
The voucher program wish was for caregivers to receive some form of payment for all of the hours they put in caring for a loved one. After all, in many instances these caregivers lose income from their jobs due to the leave time they have to take as a result of their caregiving duties.
And there are ways to receive payments, if the person you care for is on Medicaid. Here is more information on that.
Assessment of Needs
This is not only finding out what type of help is out there, but also an easy resource to make finding it all easier.
That’s what I am here for. I have already put together two of the best lists around of the types of help you can find out there.
The first I have listed here.
The other I wrote as a guest post for AgingCare.com and you can read about the list of free services here.
Leave of Absence
If you need to, you can choose to exercise your FMLA rights to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to take care of a family member. I know that one of the wishes was that this would be compensated, but that’s not in the law.
There are certain allowances and credits in the tax code to take care of an aging relative. I know I checked this out when my mother became ill. You can declare the person you are caring for as a dependent if they fit the legal definition, but you will need to check with your accountant regarding the exact rules to make sure that you do not run afoul of the IRS.
So in most ways, what caregivers want StuffSeniorsNeed.com provides. And if there is a topic you would like me to address please feel free to enter that in the comments section.