At some point in our lives most of us will care for a family member or friend who is facing a short or long-term illness. It is one of the hardest jobs there is—both physically and emotionally.
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, there are over 65 million caregivers—or almost 30% of the population. Many of these people are caring for someone with a long-term disability or illness, such as Alzheimer's disease. But caregiving can also be a short-term job. For example, caring for someone who is being discharged from the hospital after surgery or an acute illness.
There are national, state and local resources that can help you navigate your role as a caregiver:
Family Caregiving Alliance: http://www.caregiver.org
This California-based organization maintains a comprehensive website full of information about caregiving. They have factsheets about caregiving for particular types of people such as those with Alzheimers, dementia, ALS, and who have suffered a stroke. They have newsletters, maintain groups and conduct research and policy analysis. They also sponsor state-specific information. Here's a link to their information about Maryland:http://www.caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/fcn_content_node.jsp?nodeid=2122
Next Steps in Care: http://www.nextstepincare.org
This website is specifically designed for caregivers helping their loved ones transition between care settings, such as between the hospital and home, or the hospital and a rehab facility. It is full of guides, checklists, definitions, and links to a wide variety of resources. The information is also available in Spanish, Chinese, and Russian.
National Family Caregiver Support Program - A program of the Anne Arundel Department of Aging. Provides a newsletter, support groups, and other resources for those caring for adults 60 and over or those 55 and over caring for a grandchild. They will be sponsoring a workshop series on dementia in March and April in several locations. For more information:
Maryland Access Point - A Maryland state website that includes a range of resources that link you to state and county programs and services.