The joys and burdens of family caregiving vary from person to person and depend on the personalities, finances, history, and wellness of all parties involved. It can also vary from state to state, depending on the resources and programs available to support these volunteers.
A recent article on Caring.com looked at the differences from state to state to help people determine if they live in a place that might have laws, programs or services to help them help a loved one who needs care.
To see if your state is a good place for you to be a family caregiver, consider these factors:
- Enter your state in the Long-Term Services & Supports State Scorecard which tracks what services are available to those living with physical disabilities, frailty, or family caregivers.The scorecards are compiled by AARP, The SCAN Foundation and the Commonwealth Fund.
- Are there paid sick days for workers who need to take time off to care for a loved one? Possibly even laws that prevent discrimination against workers who take time off to care for a loved one?
- Are there reduced rates on public transportation or funds for people receiving care?
- Is there state-funded training and counseling for family caregivers?
- Are there many top-rated senior care providers in relation to the older adult population?
- Are there caregiver organizations that offer to educate family caregivers and connect them with the appropriate resources? For example, New Jersey’s United Way Caregivers Coalition or California’s National Alliance for Caregiving.
- Is there “nurse delegation,” which allows a nurse to delegate health maintenance tasks to a paid direct-care worker in someone’s home?
If you are in a state that does not have supports like these for family caregivers, there are other options such as online training or professional in-home care services that can ease the challenges. The Homewatch CareGivers University has classes for family caregivers too, as one example. With the right back-up family caregiving can go from stressful to wonderful.