Taking on the role of caregiver to anyone who is dealing with a chronic illness can be a huge task. At Autumn View Gardens on Schuetz Road, we applaud and appreciate the efforts of loved ones who are willing to make sacrifices to care for older relatives, especially those with dementia.
We know that without the right resources, experience and knowledge, though, this can be a stressful and frustrating journey for everyone involved. Families who are considering what is best for their loved one who is dealing with dementia or another memory condition might want to think about the benefits of memory care services in an assisted living community.
At Autumn View Gardens, we offer memory care services that help your loved one live a comfortable lifestyle that is as independent as possible. They can take part in numerous social activities, including options such as game and movie nights. Plus, our caring staff and companions are on hand to ensure residents are safe and comfortable 24 hours a day.
But we also know that memory care of this type isn't always the right step for every family or the correct step right now. So, we're providing some information about free support and resources for caregivers below to help families be as successful as possible on their individual journeys together.
You can search on Facebook for groups and organizations dedicated to providing support for caregivers. There are two options here: pages and groups. Pages are run by the actual organizations, and you can often find links to helpful articles or free resources.
Groups may or may not be run by official organizations. Many times, Facebook groups are simply run by people with similar interests and concerns. Make sure you vet the groups appropriately and join ones that seem to have a genuine interest in helping and supporting other caregivers. You also probably want to take advice offered in such groups with a grain of salt and do your own research, since not everyone involved is an expert.
Even so, Facebook groups can be valuable for caregivers who simply want to socialize online with people who are in similar situations. This alone can help relieve some stress and help you feel less isolated.
The NCOA offers a page for older adults and caregivers. It includes links to free news and resources on aging as well as links to articles and other information on how to promote good health as you age. The NCOA's blog covers numerous topics that might be of interest to family caregivers, and you can also access BenefitsCheckUp and My Medicare Matters, tools to help you ensure your loved one is getting all the assistance and support that is available for them via government benefits.
The Alzheimer's Association's website does have a fairly heavy emphasis on fundraising for research into treatments and cures for the disease. But caregivers can also access articles on Alzheimer's and dementia, including statistics, signs and symptoms, general memory loss concerns and updates about potential treatments.
The Greater Missouri Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association provides services throughout more than 80 counties in Missouri and Illinois. It has offices located in St. Louis, and caregivers may be able to contact the organization for additional resources.
The Family Caregiver Alliance partners with the Smart Patients Caregivers Community to make it easier for families to connect with and support each other. You can sign up for a newsletter to learn more or browse communities in your area to find opportunities to connect with families or caregivers who are going through similar experiences as you. You can also browse the website to find articles and other educational resources regarding caregiving.
Area Agencies on Aging offer numerous assistance options for older adults, especially those who are still living alone. Whether you're starting to provide some care for an older relative who can still live on their own or you've taken a loved one into your home for more extensive care, it might be worth reaching out to your local organization to see what assistance can be offered.
Options often include senior transportation assistance, nutrition programs, meal services and help applying for certain types of tax credits and benefits. The St. Louis Area Agency on Aging is located at 1520 Market in St. Louis. Some of the agency's services may only be available to seniors who reside within the city limits, though you can still contact the office via (314) 612-5918 even if you don't. The agencies do make referrals and help people find resource options in nearby locations if they can't offer help themselves.