Guide to Caregiver Resources
Caregivers don’t have to go it alone. There’s a wealth of resources available to support those caring for seniors.
VNA Care Network & Hospice’s staff links both patients and their families to community organizations that promote seniors’ independence and caregivers’ well-being. The following are among their most frequently recommended resources.
Adult Day Care Centers, Adult Day Health Centers, and Social Day Care Groups
Adult day care centers, adult day health centers, and social day care groups offer supervision, care, and socialization for seniors outside the home. In general, adult day care and adult day health centers are geared to seniors who have health concerns and need to be monitored. Some caregivers like to use these programs for respite and may bring their loved one for a day or two each week. Working caregivers may choose to have a loved one attend on a daily basis. Some centers offer handicapped accessible transportation to and from the site. Social day care groups are focused more on socialization and recreational activities. (Locate a center or group in Massachusetts at 800ageinfo.com.)
Area Agencies on Aging/Aging Service Access Points
Area agencies on aging and aging service access points provide a wide range of supportive services for seniors and their caregivers. Services may include home care, nutrition such as Meals on Wheels and meal sites, money management, housing, care management, long-term care ombudsman, day care, and transportation. (Locate an area agency on aging or aging service access point in Eastern or Central Massachusetts.)
Councils on Aging
Councils on aging offer services that promote seniors’ quality of life and help them continue living as independently as possible in their own homes. Exact programs vary by town. Some operate senior centers and offer meals, recreational activities, exercise programs, and transportation. (Locate a council on aging in Eastern or Central Massachusetts.)
Disease-specific organizations frequently offer support groups and information about a disease that can make a caregiver’s role easier. Some organizations may also have volunteers available to provide assistance. Examples of these groups include the Alzheimer’s Association, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, Arthritis Foundation, American Stroke Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and National Parkinson Foundation.
Ethnic and Faith-Based Organizations
Ethnic and faith-based organizations can be another source of assistance. Among those with programs geared at supporting seniors are the Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center, Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers, Catholic Charities (Boston and Worcester), and Jewish Family and Children’s Services.
Family Caregiver Organizations
There are now many websites geared specifically to supporting family caregivers. Among our favorites are:
National Family Caregivers Association offers tips and tools for caregivers and links to additional resources.
Family Caregiving 101 is a joint project of the National Family Caregivers Association and the National Alliance for Caregiving. It’s not just the basics. There’s information about the stages of caregiving and finding support and help.
800ageinfo.com is a statewide, government website that offers an online search tool to help users locate aging and disability services in Massachusetts.
- Lotsa Helping Hands gives caregivers an easy and free way to coordinate help from family, friends, neighbors, and others. The site includes a group calendar for scheduling tasks such as meal delivery and rides.
Home Health Care
VNA Care Network & Hospice offers a wide range of services to help people cope with illness or injury while continuing to live at home. Home health care can help seniors avoid stays in health care facilities, improve their mobility after a fall, and manage a variety of diseases including diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Palliative care offers pain and symptom management and other services to improve the quality of life for people undergoing treatment for cancer, pulmonary disease, cardiac disease, and other chronic or life-limiting conditions. Hospice provides physical, emotional, practical, and spiritual support to help terminally ill patients and their loved ones focus on life. VNA Care Network & Hospice’s Referral Center staff can make recommendations based on your individual situation. Contact the Referral Center at 800-728-1862 or email@example.com. For TTY access, call 508-751-6926.
Keep Well Clinics
VNA Care Network & Hospice’s free Keep Well clinics for seniors are an opportunity to meet with a community health nurse for health assessments (blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight monitoring; cardiopulmonary assessments; etc.), teaching (medication, diet, disease management, preventive health, etc.), and referrals to community resources. (See the clinic schedule.)
Massachusetts Family Caregiver Support Program
The Massachusetts Family Caregiver Support Program is a partnership of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, aging service access points, and area agencies on aging. The program offers information about services and community programs; one-on-one needs assessment; training, support, and counseling; respite programs for temporary help; and supplemental services, such as home modifications and transportation. There are no income eligibility requirements. To access the program, contact your local area agency on aging or aging service access point.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels offers home delivered meals to seniors. To find a program, contact the council on aging, aging service access point or area agency on aging that serves the town where your loved one lives.
Personal Emergency Response Systems
Personal emergency response systems can give clients and their loved one peace of mind knowing that emergency assistance can be accessed at the push of a button. VNA Care Network & Hospice offers Philips Lifeline to our patients and the community. In addition to personal emergency response systems, there is also a medication dispenser. It automatically announces and dispenses up to six doses per day and alerts caregivers if the client doesn’t respond to the announcement. For more information, contact Carol Potter, Lifeline coordinator, at 800-521-5539, ext. 5459.
Private Duty Care
Private duty agencies offer care in patients’ homes, such as nursing assistance, personal care, cleaning, household management, and errand services. These services are paid for privately instead of by insurance.
Home Staff, LLC has offered private home health care since 1977. As a leader in the private home care industry, their well-trained and experienced certified home health aides care for individuals requiring personal care and/or needing household management. They offer respite for caretakers who need time to themselves and private duty care for those recovering from surgery, receiving hospice care, or suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. To learn more about services by Home Staff, which is owned by VNA Care Network & Hospice and Fallon Community Health Plan, call 800-779-3312. Home Staff serves Greater Worcester, Greater Boston, and Western Massachusetts. For information about private duty services in other areas, contact VNA Care Network & Hospice at 800-728-1862.