Caregivers never seem to get enough help, and the available assistance can be overwhelming and confusing. There are caregiver resources for older adults, but you will have to do a bit of exploring and sorting to choose the best one for your situation.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Online Resources for Caregivers of Elderly Parents
- Agencies, Programs, or In-Person Support for Caregivers of Elderly Parents
- Resources for Caregivers of Elderly Parents With Dementia or Alzheimer’s
- Resources for Caregivers of Elderly Parents With Cancer
The list that we provide is curated because resources shouldn’t be trying to sell you something in exchange for information. This is not to say that there aren't reliable and valid for-profit resources—there are. But take care with your personal information.
Caregiving is so complex and individual that one size doesn’t fit all. And the nature of caregiving is that it changes constantly. Periods of relative stability can be followed by increasing decline or a crisis. Then you are back to finding resources that you didn’t realize you could use. Our list intends to help you feel less alone and more informed.
Online Resources for Caregivers of Elderly Parents
Most people look online for resources for caregivers because it’s convenient, fast, and comprehensive. As more people work remotely, online resources are ideal for finding local and national programs and services. Online caregiver blogs inform, educate, provide caregiver instruction and clarify benefits.
1. Eldercare Locator
Eldercare Locator is a service of the Administration on Aging. Think of Eldercare Locator as a portal to eldercare programs and services in your area. Although the list of resources in your area won’t be comprehensive, you will be guided to all of your state and federal aging programs. Eldercare locator is a one-stop-shopping hub. It eliminates the need to search for individual program information in your location.
2. Family Caregiver Alliance
Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) is a practical online resource for caregivers and their families. The organization provides caregiver video instruction, self-care help, research, legal help, and more. FCA also has a portal to individual state resources.
You may associate AARP with insurance and other products, but they are much more than that. AARP partners with the National Alliance on Caregiving to produce a comprehensive report on caregiving in the US. In addition, AARP has thousands of articles and videos related to aging and caregiving. Access to some information requires a membership, but most does not.
4. Caring Bridge
Caring Bridge is a free online website to share health information about someone you care for. As a caregiver, you know how time-consuming and stressful it can be to share all of the twists and turns of a loved one’s care with people who want to know. Caring Bridge is a place for you to post updates for friends and family members and for them to offer support in return.
5. The National Council on Aging
The National Council on Aging has a mission to improve the lives of older adults, especially those that are marginalized. To that end, their site focuses on more practical aspects of caregiving like finances and applying for benefits.
Agencies, Programs, or In-Person Support for Caregivers of Elderly Parents
It can be easy to overlook programs and in-person support that can help as a caregiver. Many agencies and programs will have financial or other criteria to participate, but don’t let that stop you from seeing if you qualify. Some of these programs may require lengthy paperwork, but it could be beneficial it in the end if something saves you money and time.
6. The VA
The Veterans Administration (VA) has several caregiver and other programs to support veterans and their spouses. The VA offers a pension program with a cash payout, caregiver support, housing, and the VA Medical Foster Home Program for qualified veterans. If you or your loved one was a Veteran, it is definitely worth checking on programs that might help.
7. Area agency on aging
You can find your local area agency on aging (AAA) through Elderlocator. You may be familiar with the Meals on Wheels Program, the Caregiver Support Program, or Senior Transportation. All of these programs are administered by your local Area Agency on Aging.
8. Adult Day Care
Adult Day Care centers provide a safe, stimulating atmosphere for older adults to go to during the day. Centers vary in terms of what they offer, but most have meals, a few health services, activities, and transportation. Not every community has an Adult Day Care center, but if yours does and your loved one is willing to attend, it can give you a much-needed break. And your family member will get some additional stimulation and interaction with others.
9. Home care and home health
Home care and home health are both integral to the support of caregivers of older adults. You may use one, both, or even go back and forth between the two. The primary distinction between home health and home care is cost and permitted duties. Home care caregivers are paid by the hour and can’t perform medical tasks. Home health is a time-limited Medicare benefit that offers nursing, aides, and physical and occupational therapy.
Most caregivers may not think of counseling as a support resource, but it is. The stress and strain of caregiving can take an emotional and physical toll, and a therapist can help you learn coping strategies. How do you find a therapist? Psychologytoday.com has a search feature with several filters to help you find a therapist in your area. Most therapists switched to virtual therapy sessions during the pandemic, so you may not even need to leave your house.
Resources for Caregivers of Elderly Parents With Dementia or Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer's and dementia care is simply back-breaking and stressful work. The nature of the disease is that it progresses, and caregiving becomes more arduous and complicated. The progression of the disease is individual, and it can be challenging to foresee future caregiving needs. Fortunately, there are resources for caregivers to turn to for support and education.
11. The Alzheimer's Association
The Alzheimer's Association is a place to become informed, connect with other caregivers in support groups, and follow the latest research on a cure for the disease. The association has local chapters in many communities where you can participate in fundraisers and get advice on additional resources in your area including support groups.
12. Medline Plus
Medline Plus is a service of the National Library of Medicine, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. Medline has information about Alzheimer's and is a portal to a wide range of other resources. Many of their materials are also in Spanish.
13. The Cleveland Clinic Healthy Brains
Sometimes we forget that managing Alzheimer's and dementia also involves healthy lifestyle changes. The Cleveland Clinic Healthy Brains initiative informs caregivers about approaches to managing dementia through diet, exercise, and cognitive stimulation.
14. Respite care
Respite care is a broad term to describe resources that give caregivers a break. Some respite care services are provided by local aging and adult services programs. Most of these programs will require meeting income guidelines. However, respite in memory care is an option. Most assisted living communities have fully furnished rooms for your loved one for a daily rate for up to two weeks.
15. Memory care
Memory care should be part of the discussion when looking for resources for caregivers taking care of someone with Alzheimer's or dementia. A time could come when you can no longer manage the care of your loved one. Memory care communities specialize in the unique needs and care of people with dementia. But memory care can be expensive, and you and your loved one will need the financial resources to support that level of care.
Resources for Caregivers of Elderly Parents With Cancer
An older adult with cancer could be suffering from some of the more common cancers to afflict people as they age, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, bladder, prostate, and lung cancer. Regardless of the diagnosis, cancer treatment for an older adult can be more arduous and challenging due to comorbid conditions or general debility. Due to a wide range of cancers, these sites will help support you as a caregiver for an older adult with cancer.
16. National Cancer Institute
The National Cancer Institute is part of the National Institutes of Health. In addition to updated information on research, the site has an A to Z list of cancers to find specific information related to your loved one’s condition.
Cancer.net is a service of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The site has information on types of cancer, cancer care for older adults, communication, finding support and information, and more.
Cancercare.org is unique in its focus on providing free over-the-phone case management, financial advice, and support group referral. They also have support groups and workshops.
19. American Cancer Society
In addition to other offerings, the American Cancer Society has a complete caregiver resource guide for download. The guide is 126 pages of helpful tips on caregiving and nutrition, coping, and self-care.
20. Hospice care
If your loved one has a terminal cancer diagnosis, hospice care can be a tremendous resource for you as a caregiver and your older adult family member. Although hospice can’t provide everything you might need, their emotional support can be invaluable. Hospice can offer comfort care, pain relief, durable medical equipment, and assistance with activities of daily living at the end of life.
Resources for Caregivers of Elderly Parents
Caring for aging parents is as much an emotional journey as a caregiving one. Support comes in many different ways, and knowing that you are not alone is reassuring. A flexible approach to resources is the key to finding what you need when you need it.