Elder care is a broad field that recognizes the role of the adult caregiver as one that provides essential services to a parent or older person. Often employees do not recognize their role as a caregiver nor do they realize that help may be available in the community to assist an older person. Sometimes it is difficult for an employee to remember that he or she has needs that should be met. Ask yourself the following questions:
Am I concerned about the safety or welfare of an aging relative or friend?
Do I help an older person from time to time with household tasks such as grocery shopping, paying bills, or house cleaning?
Am I providing personal care -- bathing, feeding, grooming -- to a parent or older person who needs assistance in these areas?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, you are a caregiver. Caregiver is a term describing a person who is concerned about or provides assistance to another because of physical or mental limitations. A caregiver can help anyone -- a child, a disabled person, or an aging individual. However, this handbook is intended to help people who are employee caregivers of a parent or older person.
Your agency's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) may be helpful in assisting you with problems or concerns you may be experiencing as a caregiver. An EAP counselor also can direct you to the appropriate resources that will help your parent or older person. In addition to the listings in this book, there are many other resources available to help caregivers do their jobs. If you would like to receive a fact sheet on caregiving, a pamphlet titled "Caregiving: 1st Line of Defense," or a resource list of national organizations that offer free or low-cost resources, contact the Older Women's League (OWL) at 1-800-TAKE OWL from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). The OWL is a non-profit organization that seeks to educate the public about issues affecting middle-aged and older women.
Employee caregivers can find other services, sources of help, and emotional support on several World Wide websites created by national caregiving and home care associations. Some of these include:
National Alliance for Caregiving
National Family Caregivers Association
National Association for Home Care
7th Street, NE
National Council on the Aging
Caregivers should also be mindful of the Elder Care Locator information below.
The Locator is a toll free number operating nationwide for people with elder care concerns. It is operated by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging with funds from the Older Americans Act of 1992 (P.L. 102-375). The trained elder care operators can determine who you need to contact and give you local referral numbers. If your parent or an older person lives far away, the Elder Care Locator can give you information for their area.
This section of the Handbook was written with the assistance of the Older Women's League.