Tips and Tools for Caregivers


Dear wise elder,
Can you recommend any resources that offer help to caregivers? I am taking care of my 86 year old mother and I would need some help.
Brenda exhausted

Dear Brenda,
Caring for an aging parent or other loved one over a period of time can be very difficult both physically and mentally. Fortunately, there are a number of tips and services you can turn to to take the load off your feet. Here are several to consider.

Build a Care Team: A good first step is to build a network of people, including family, friends, and even neighbors, who you can call to help you when you can’t be there or need help. ‘pause.

Tap local services: Many communities offer a range of free or subsidized services that help seniors and caregivers by providing them with services like home-delivered meals, transportation, eldercare services and more Again. Call 211 to find out what’s available in your community, or call the AARP Care Resource Center (877-333-5885), which provides referrals to local resources.

Use respite: Respite services can provide short-term care for your mother so that you can take time off. To locate services in your area, try the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center at

Hire a Home Help: You may want to consider hiring a part-time home help who can help with meal preparation, housework, or taking care of yourself. Costs can range from $ 12 to $ 30 an hour depending on where you live and the helper qualification. To find help through an agency, use the Medicare search tool Or to find someone on your own, which is a more affordable way, try websites like or

Use Financial Tools: If you’re managing your mom’s finances, you can make things easier by setting up direct deposit for her income sources and setting up automatic payments for her utilities and other regular bills. Also, consider setting up your mom’s online banking service at her bank so that she can pay her other bills and monitor her account at all times. If you want or need help, there are professional Daily Fund Managers (see to locate someone) who can do it for you. They charge between $ 60 and $ 150 an hour.

Also, if your mom is on a low income, use, a free and confidential website that will help you find financial assistance programs that can help her pay for her medications, utilities, health care. health and other needs.

Get Insurance Help: If you have questions about what Medicare or Medicaid covers, or about long-term care, your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) provides free advice on all these matters. Call 877-839-2675 or visit to locate an advisor nearby.

You can also get help at or by calling 800-633-4227, and through the Medicare Rights Center, which has a helpline at 800-333-4114.

Tap Other Resources: There are a number of other organizations you can tap for additional information, such as the Family Care Alliance (, which provides a status list. status of care programs and services;, which offers care advice, senior housing information and online support groups; the Alzheimer’s Association (, which provides unique information on the challenges of caregivers with dementia; and the US Department of Veterans Affairs (, which provides caregiver support services to veterans and even spouses of veterans.

And, if you happen to share caring responsibilities with others, sites like and can help you coordinate.

Take care of yourself: make your health a priority. Being a caregiver is a big job that can cause emotional and physical stress and lead to illness and depression. The only way to get the care your mom needs is to make sure you stay healthy.

Send your questions to seniors to: Savvy Senior, PO Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of the book “The Savvy Senior”.


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