The Senior LinkAge Line®—1-800-333-2433—is your first call for help about caregiving. Information specialists will refer you to resources in your community, such as the caregiver services described below.
Who is a caregiver?
Caregivers are family members, friends, neighbors and others who help older adults and people with disabilities with their daily needs. A caregiver may help prepare meals, pay bills, do personal care, manage medications and assist with, or make, major life decisions.
Caregivers often see themselves as simply doing what a family member or friend does. Yet their help is invaluable to those they care for and to the whole community.
Identifying as a caregiver may seem unnecessary, but once you do, reaching out for information and resources becomes a natural next step.
Many community services are available to help you gain confidence and cope with new responsibilities. These resources will help you examine options, create a plan for your caregiving tasks and maintain balance in your life. Services include caregiver consultant/coach, family meetings, caregiver support groups, caregiver education and adult respite care.
Work one-on-one with a professional who understands the needs and issues of the person you’re caring for and is focused on supporting you. With the coach’s help, you can:
- Set and meet goals
- Solve caregiving problems and challenges
- Find helpful resources
A caregiver consultant can help you maintain life balance, learn new skills and gain confidence and stamina for providing care.
In the Twin Cities metro area, you can work with caregiver consultants who are trained to deliver Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health (REACH). This nationally proven support, education, and skills-building consultation is for family members and others caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Learn more about REACH.
Gathering spouses, children and others involved in caring for a family member may seem hard and risky. Consider using a caregiver consultant to facilitate a meeting. This expert will help you identify needs, share responsibilities, work through conflict, and develop a plan that will serve both the person you care for and all of the helpers.
Caregiver support groups
Support groups for caregivers can offer a variety of things, including education, community resources and emotional support and networking. Most groups meet in person, but some are held via phone conferencing or the Internet.
Education available to caregivers includes training on managing your risk factors (e.g., stress and depression) family dynamics, managing difficult behaviors and navigating health and long-term care systems. You’ll gain the knowledge needed to make decisions, solve problems and feel more confident with your caregiving role.
One caregiver education program, Powerful Tools for Caregivers, is available throughout Minnesota. This six-week program is for family caregivers and focuses on learning skills for the caregiving role, including self-care, reducing personal stress, dealing with difficult emotions, communicating in challenging situations, and mastering caregiving decisions. Download descriptions of the six weekly classes and find a program offering in your area.
Adult respite care
Respite for a caregiver means receiving a period of temporary substitute care, supervision, and companionship for the person you are caring for. Respite care is offered by home and community-based providers and can range from a couple hours to a short-term stay by the care receiver in a residential setting. You’ll get a mental and physical break from caregiving and the person you care for will gain a socializing opportunity.
To find these caregiver services in your area, call the Senior LinkAge Line.
Have a unique caregiving experience?
Caring from a distance has distinct challenges, including limited knowledge about available resources and services. Outside Minnesota, try the Eldercare Locator, a national toll-free directory assistance program provided by the U.S. Administration on Aging to help elders and their families find local services. Call 1-800-677-1116.
Caring for someone with a developmental disability is lifelong and often done by older parents or siblings. As the parent and care receiver age, the care and service needs can change. Find information by calling the Disability Linkage Line at 1-866-333-2466 or online at MinnesotaHelp.info.
Visit the Veteran’s Administration caregiver services or call 1-888-LinkVet (546-5838).
Educational information for ethnic and new immigrant caregivers and older adults can help raise awareness of caregiving, promote planning ahead and self-care, and link families with available resources. View videos and tip sheets available in Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Khmer (Cambodian), and English