What you will find in this Resource Guide

It’s been called “the unexpected career.” When failing physical or mental health leaves someone unable to live independently, the extra care and support they need often must be provided by a family member.

Research has documented that as a society, we’re largely unprepared to deal with the volume of people who will need such caregiving as they age.

Aging at home when possible is far preferred by most aging adults – multiple surveys show this – but that can create new demands on family caregivers, especially psychological impacts (time, stress) and financial costs. Relationship dynamics change. It can be challenging and stressful to interface with the formal medical system. Family caregivers’ uncertainty about what to do, and whether they are even doing things correctly, also are sources of stress.

With all of this in mind, the New York & Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative has created this guide with resources for caregivers, especially family members caring for loved ones.

In this guide you will find more than 100 links to online information from non-profit groups, government agencies, and other organizations with expertise in caregiving.

It includes, for example, information about how to find caregiver support groups, respite and adult day care programs, legal help, and other services for older adults and caregivers.

Separate sets of resources discuss issues around home care, assisted living and skilled nursing care – including ideas for finding providers of each care format. Another set of resources has guidance for those with the especially challenging task of caring for a loved one with dementia. A separate page is devoted to those new to the task of caregiving.

The New York & Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative has a special mission to serve the Buffalo, Rochester and metro Detroit areas, so many of the links and resources are to organizations in those areas. But others come from such nationally known and well-respected organizations as the Alzheimer’s Association, AARP, the Family Caregiver Alliance, and the National Alliance for Caregiving.

Overall, we hope this adds up to a rich body of information to assist anyone who finds themself in a caregiver role. Academic research about those thrust into caregiving clearly documents that taking on this task changes the caregiver’s life dramatically. Not only does the cared-for person need various kinds of support and assistance – but so does the caregiver.

A need for reliable information about what to do as a caregiver, plus tools for finding assistance for the cared-for person, are two of the main “support needs” caregivers face. It is our hope at the New York & Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative that this resource guide meets those information needs.

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