Family caregivers truly are the backbone of Ohio’s long-term care system. Approximately 1.7 million Ohioans provide some level of unpaid care for a loved one who is older or who has a disability. Caregivers are spouses, children, grandchildren, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors and more.
Caregiving is unique to every family and every relationship. Ohio’s area agencies on aging, through the National Family Caregiver Support program, provide an array of supports for family caregivers, including training, respite care, medical alert services, personal care, home delivered meals, chore services, home modifications and more.
Here are a few examples of ways area agencies are helping caregivers:
Sara was a 50-something mother of two adult children looking forward to early retirement when her out-of-state parents’ health started declining. Her parents, Mary and Ken, lived four hours away in another state, and Ken was the only driver of the two. Once he lost the use of his legs, he was unable to drive at all and this left the couple with no access to the outside world. They chose to relocate to Ohio so that they could be closer to Sara for support. Sara received help from the Family Caregiver Support Program at Direction Home Aging and Disabilities in the Akron/Canton area. Staff there conducted an assessment and helped to create a care plan for her parents. They also linked Sara to classes to help her stay organized as she planned for future care needs, as well as respite services when her father passed away and her mother needed more care due to Alzheimer’s Disease. Sara was able to continue working, keep her parents in the community and spend quality time with her husband and children thanks to the assistance she received from her area agency.
Linda is a 55-year-old grandparent caregiver living in Gallia County. For the past 12 years, she has raised her three young grandchildren. Linda became involved with the Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc. Caregiver Support Program after a counselor for one of the grandchildren referred her. Linda lives in a small home with no stove and was cooking all their meals in a microwave oven. Following a home visit, agency staff linked Linda to supplemental services in the Caregiver Support Program and the Help Fund (a support program funded by donations from area agency staff), and helped Linda get a new stove. The first real meal Linda fixed for her family on the new stove was pot roast. Linda related, “It is nice knowing there is someone out there that understands what grandparents raising grandchildren are going through.” Linda continues to receive support from the area agency, including a monthly newsletter with information and education resources.
We are incredibly proud of our area agencies on aging and the work they do every day to help older adults and their families live healthy lives and stay connected to their communities.
Call 866-243-5678 to be connected to the agency serving your community.
Submitted by the Ohio Department of Aging, aging.ohio.gov