Are you a caregiver for a loved one? It can be challenging and exhausting to take care of a loved one or neighbor while also taking care of yourself. You're constantly managing health emergencies, doctor's appointments, medications and juggling priorities. It can be isolating.
More than one in five adults in the United States find themselves caring for a senior, ill adult or child with special needs. Caregivers often are unpaid, and the work is often ongoing and difficult.
It's even more difficult to care for a loved one during COVID-19 due to concerns about exposure.
Senior Help During COVID-19: Caregiver Services Corps
Do you know someone, aged 65 or older, who has a pressing need? The Caregiver Services Corps (CSC) sends trained volunteers to the homes of older adults in Maryland to take care of temporary, urgent needs. These may be associated with everyday tasks like bathing, personal hygiene, accessing adequate food, educating older adults on video technology to connect with loved ones or healthcare providers, and assisting seniors with self-administration of prescription medication.
This program is meant to be back-up support during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Perhaps a caregiver got sick or exposed to the virus, and is temporarily unable to assist the senior who needs help. CSC also helps older adults who suddenly need help with tasks due to COVID-19. The volunteers can also help with longer-term planning.
This support is critical to preventing hospitalizations because a senior lacked support at home.
If you're a family member, neighbor or caregiver and know an older adult in need, dial 2-1-1 for support.
The trained specialists from this first-in-the-nation program are available 7 days a week, through the Maryland Department of Aging.
Senior Call Check
All CSC participants will also be enrolled in Senior Call Check. It's a daily automated call, plus a live-weekly call from a trained volunteer. The daily calls provide COVID-19 updates. If the senior does not respond to the automated phone call after three attempts, an alternate person will check in on the senior. This person is a reliable emergency contact, chosen at registration. If a senior does not have an alternate, one will be assigned.
Maryland is the first state in the country to start a FREE, opt-in, phone service to check on Maryland's older residents.
This program is also open to all Maryland seniors aged 65 or over.
Caregiver Training in Maryland
Training may also be available to provide useful tips and information to caregivers.
Search for training opportunities in your Maryland community. Again, please note that some agencies are focused on assisting those in specific situations and with specific medical conditions, so be sure to read the details.
Caregiver support groups
Dealing with the stresses of caregiving as well as the emotional impact of having a loved one with an illness, injury or disability can easily become overwhelming. It can be very useful to connect with other caregivers, who understand the situation and may in fact be dealing with very similar thoughts and emotions.
Caregiver support groups can provide resources, motivation and support. Click here to find support groups in Maryland. You can refine the search by zip code.
211 Maryland can also connect you to a number of other resources.
Respite care can be another source of support. These programs provide a brief period of rest or relief by offering temporary or intermittent care in the home or in community settings/facilities.
Respite care programs can be very valuable, helping to give caregivers time to attend to their own needs with the knowledge that their loved one is being cared for. Oftentimes, respite care is paid for privately, though in some cases, insurance may help to cover the cost.
Additionally, grants and subsidies may be available, and it is important to ask about these when contacting the respite care agency.
Search for Maryland respite care programs. Please note that some respite care programs are focused on assisting people with a certain medical condition, so be sure to read the details to find resources that are most appropriate.
Aside from the types of resources and services described here, there may be a variety of assistance services available to caregivers. To find out more, visit these websites:
The Caregiver Action Network has a toolbox with videos, resources and tips to help caregivers.
If you are a new caregiver and trying to understand immediate needs for the individual's illness, the Family Caregiver Alliance provides information on what to expect for common diagnoses including Alzheimer's Disease, dementia and stroke.
You can also call your local Maryland Access Point (MAP) or 2-1-1 for additional information and guidance.
We also have customized searches for other caregiver resources like Meals on Wheels, Medic Alert, Assistive Technology Equipment, Home Barrier Evaluations, Senior Ride Programs and more.
You can search on your own or call 2-1-1 any time of day to connect with a trained resource specialist who can find the resources you or your loved one need most.