November 23, 2020
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683

Family Caregivers Can Access Many Helpful Resources This Holiday Season

November is National Family Caregiver Month

While virtual holiday gatherings will be the norm this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials want families, and family caregivers, to know that many resources are available to help if you notice changes in a family member’s health, self-care routine, memory or overall behavior this holiday season, even if you don’t live close to your loved one.

“We know that 2020 has presented new challenges for family caregivers, who already are under enormous stress,” said Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “We want caregivers to know that there are many resources available to help them take care of themselves as they take care of their loved one.”

Health officials suggest that a good first step is to call your local Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC). Staff know the resources available in the community, and can connect families to services that can keep older adults living at home safely. Most ADRCs also have dementia care specialists on staff who can answer questions in confidence if a person suspects that a relative or friend may be experiencing cognitive decline.

The National Family Caregiver Support Program and Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Family Caregiver Support Program can help with caregiver support services that are available at no cost or low cost to most people caring for a Wisconsin resident age 60 or over. Services include:

  • Help with home chores
  • In-home personal care (bathing, grooming, etc.)
  • Access to classes and conferences on how to provide safe in-home care
  • Meal preparation services, home-delivered meals and grocery delivery
  • Respite services that give caregivers a short break from responsibilities
  • Adaptive equipment that makes caregiving easier and improves safety for the person receiving care
  • Expert advice from dementia care specialists
  • Support groups, classes, counseling and discussion groups
  • Support for grandparents and other relatives age 55+ who have become the primary caregiver for a related child
  • Access to legal and financial services related to caregiving
  • Help paying for some goods associated with caregiving
  • Knowledgeable and caring advice from professionals who understand the difficulties of caregiving
  • Emergency overnight or short-term facility stays

Wisconsin’s newest caregiver support tool is a free online learning and training resource called Trualta, sponsored by the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, the Dane County Area Agency on Aging, and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Accessible 24/7, Trualta offers videos and articles from trusted professionals who teach caregivers how to perform personal care at home, communicate with individuals who have dementia, manage finances and medications, and make their own health a priority. Trualta focuses on the physical and emotional health of everyone in a caregiving household, because stress, fatigue and injury are real dangers for anyone providing care at home.

Whether you’re a caregiver for older adults or individuals with intellectual or physical disabilities, or a grandparent or other relative caring for children, it’s critical to stay connected with other caregivers. With many events cancelled or postponed this year, the Wisconsin Family and Caregiver Support Alliance offers a list of Virtual Events For Caregivers taking place around the state, including virtual caregiver cafes that provide emotional support, online classes and conferences, live events, and a chance to talk with other caregivers. Most of the events are free or have a minimal registration fee, which is often covered by a program through the ADRC.

Additional information on programs and resources for family caregivers is also available.