The informal support provided by family caregivers is vital, but often underappreciated. It hasn’t been totally ignored however, and in fact support for family caregivers was formally written into law when the National Family Caregiver Support Program was established as part of the Older Americans Act Amendments of 2000.
The program provides grants to states to fund a range of supports that assist family and informal caregivers to care for their loved ones at home for as long as possible.
The program calls for all states, working in partnership with Area Agencies on Aging and local community service providers, to have five basic services for family caregivers:
Information to caregivers about available services
Assistance to caregivers in gaining access to the services
Individual counseling, organization of support groups, and caregiver training to assist caregivers in making decisions and solving problems related to their caregiving roles
Respite care to enable caregivers to be temporarily relieved from their caregiving responsibilities
Supplemental services, on a limited basis, to complement the care provided by family caregivers
Eligible Program Participants:
As of the 2006 Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, the following specific populations of family caregivers are eligible to receive services:
Adult family members or other informal caregivers age 18 and older providing care to individuals 60 years of age and older;
Adult family members or other informal caregivers age 18 and older providing care to individuals of any age with Alzheimer`s disease and related disorders;
Grandparents and other relatives (not parents) 55 years of age and older providing care to children under the age of 18; and
Grandparents and other relatives (not parents) 55 years of age and older providing care to adults age 18-59 with disabilities.
The Massachusetts Family Caregiver Support Program is administered by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, in coordination with the Area Agencies on Aging/Aging Services Access Pointsthroughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Caregiver Support Programs in MetroWest:
Many support services are beginning to open in Massachusetts, and we will continue to update our website as we learn which resources are offering in-person options. These changes are continuing to evolve frequently, so we still encourage you to contact the resources below to inquire about their current operating hours and any restrictions or protocols that remain in place.
Each of the three ASAPs serving communities in MetroWest offers a Caregiver Support Program.
Springwell, Inc., which serves Ashland, Belmont, Brookline, Dover, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Natick, Needham, Newton, Northborough, Sherborn, Southborough, Sudbury, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Wellesley, Westborough, and Weston provides help for caregivers with:
Caregiving tips and strategies
Home safety training and modification
Mental health resources
Stress management and caregiver wellness
Information on housing options
Adult day health programs
Geriatricians and specialists
Training in caring for a person with Alzheimer’s Disease of any age
Care advisor to consult with caregivers and provide an assessment of care-giving needs, suggestions about resource options and follow-up assistance.
Tools and resources to help with long-term care planning, including the Caregiver’s Notebook, an aid for caregivers to have a central place to record and document the important aspects of care.
Care advisors visit with caregivers to help them understand what is going on, to review available options and to learn how to best manage the social service and health care networks.
Tri-Valley, Inc., which serves MetroWest communities in Bellingham, Franklin, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon and Milford, also features a Caregiver Support Program to help caregivers to access information, resources, services, training and support, including:
A Caregiver Specialist who can provide individual support and assistance to caregivers seeking information or resources related to their specific situational needs.
Upon request, an Elder Care Advisor (ECA) will speak with caregivers in person, by phone or through e-mail and conduct an assessment of the caregiver’s situation.
The free 130 page Caregiver Guide [PDF] provides information on local and statewide community resources.
A Caregiver Organizer to assist caregivers in maintaining important medical and service information on their loved one. The free Organizer is available in 10 languages. Contact Tri-Valley for more information.
The Long Distance Caregiver’s Booklet [PDF] helps caregivers who live some distance away to assess needs, identify local resources and plan for services in their loved one’s community.