6 Resources for Family Caregivers

If you’re caring for an older loved one this holiday season, you’re not alone.

An estimated 44 million American families and friends provide unpaid care to another adult, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA). These caregivers provide about 80 percent of the long-term care in the United States.

Caregiving can take a personal and professional toll. Caregivers are at higher risk for depression, stress, and health problems like heart disease. They’re also less likely to care for themselves and their own health.

Up to half of all caregivers are also working, FCA states. These employees often lose time and wages, give up on career opportunities, or even quit their jobs to provide care to their family member.

Below are six resources that can make life easier for you and your loved one.

1. BenefitsCheckUp®

Millions of seniors and adults with disabilities qualify for—but are not enrolled in—programs that could help them pay for prescription drugs, medical care, food, or heat for their homes. BenefitsCheckUp® is a free, confidential, online service to see if you qualify for benefits and take the first steps toward applying.

2. My Medicare Matters

Let’s face it, Medicare can be confusing. This free website provides step-by-step help to choose a Medicare plan for the first time, reassess coverage each year during open enrollment, and answer common questions about Medicare and what it covers.

3. Home Equity Advisor

A person’s home is often their largest and most important financial asset. Most older adults want to stay independent in their own homes as long as possible. This free website developed with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation helps older homeowners explore how they might be able to use their home equity to stay healthy and secure as they age.

4. Eldercare Locator

The Administration on Aging offers this free public service to help connect people to services for older adults and their families. You can also reach Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.

5. Family Care Navigator

This state-by-state resource from the Family Caregiver Alliance helps caregivers locate government, nonprofit, and private programs in their area. FCA also offers a wealth of information on care strategies, stress relief, family issues, and hands-on care, as well as online discussion groups to keep caregivers connected to each other.

6. VA Caregiver Support

The Veterans Administration offers this website for caregivers of veterans of all ages, along with a toll-free support line at 1-855-260-3274.


Related Stories:

Technology Instead of Human Caregivers?

$450 Billion: What Family Caregivers of Elderly, Disabled Would Earn

The Person Behind The Wheelchair: Who Cares for The Caregiver?


Photo credit: Thinkstock

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Catherine Hein
Catherine Hein2 years ago

thank you for this extremely well written article

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra2 years ago

Thank you Tracy, for Sharing this!

Winn Adams
Winn Adams2 years ago


Dawn G.
Dawn G.2 years ago

My husband, child and I care for my mother in law who has advanced Alzheimer's and requires 24-7 supervision. For an entire year of her care (until we could get her qualified for Medicaid, which is an arduous process), I could not leave our 3-room (not 3 bedroom--just 3 rooms.) apartment even to go to the store or to take my child to the playground or even take a walk around the block. It took a major toll on my sanity, my health and my child's development to be on house arrest for so long.

Now MIL attends a Medical funded adult day program from 9 to 3, but the fact that she cannot be left alone for a second means that I still cannot go back to work except part time because I can't leave till she's gone and I have to be back before she returns. But I can't even work part time because care for my child costs MORE than my part time wages. Were it not for MIL's social security contributing to our expenses, we'd all be homeless or foodless. And in fact, until we can find the money to replace her contribution to our survival, we can't place her in a home either. But how can I get the money when I can't get a full time job or affordable childcare?

I'm left in the position where I have to choose between the welfare of my 4 year old who has her whole life ahead of her, and my mother in law who doesn't even know who I am anymore. Only in America.

R Maria O.

Great information! thanks

Phillip Ferrell
Phillip Ferrell2 years ago

@David Y. I and My elderly and handicapped aunt have lived together since 1999. My wife, who was living in Tennesee(did I spell that right? Probably not) moved in with us 2 years ago. I did not want my aunt to be put into a nursing home because I don't think they get the care they need in those places, and I know they don't get the love they need. Our situations are a lot alike, huh?

Janet B.
Janet B.2 years ago

Wait to you get the nursing home bill!

John Mansky
John Mansky2 years ago

Interesting article,thank you...

Nicole Weber
Nicole W.2 years ago

great resources, thank you

Kate R.
Kate R.2 years ago

Carers are forgotten even here in the UK with our well developed welfare system, but they deserved recognition & support for the wonderful way they care for their family members.