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Two Local Resources that Make Caregiving Easier

As the owners of a realty firm that specializes in homes for baby boomers, Bill and I have come across many individuals and couples who are spending a great deal of their retirement years taking care of older family members. As caregivers, they can be responsible for managing medical appointments, household maintenance, grocery shopping, meal preparation and other necessary tasks. Thats all on top of ensuring their loved ones have companionship and emotional support as they deal with aging challenges.

I know how exhausting this can be, even though Ive only experienced it for a limited time while Bill was recovering from cancer a few years ago. So for this weeks blog post Ive done a bit of research on where to turn to for help.

Step one: Check out the Caregiver Resource Centers Network

The state of Delaware has developed a remarkably thorough web site of organizations that can make life much easier for caregivers and the people theyre supporting. It lists community centers in Sussex, Kent and Newcastle County that have been created for people over 50. My big takeaway after reviewing the offerings at one of them, the CHEER center in Lewes is that theyre a wonderful asset for folks who get a break from the daily grind of taking care of someone, and for those who enjoy the centers services as well.

Mondays through Fridays at that center, for example, seniors can enjoy healthy midday meals on site or from the drive-through pick-up. Those who are 60 or older pay only $3 and those under 60 pay $4.50. And if you or the person youre caring for cant get to the center daily transportation is available for $1. 

The center also hosts all kinds of fun activities for seniors, including crafts, concerts, games and exercise sessions along with educational and cultural trips. So caregivers who drop their loved ones off for a few hours at the center get some free time along with the assurance theyre in a safe place with plenty of companionship. 

Equally important, staff at the centers make caregivers lives easier by helping them navigate resources for finding appropriate medical care and other services. They can also help you more effectively care for someone suffering from dementia or Alzheimers. 

Step Two: Get help from Village Volunteers

Another way for caregivers to gain more free time and help with necessary tasks is to connect with Village Volunteers if the person you care for lives between Milton and Dewey, or the South Coastal Village Volunteers, who take care of folks in communities beyond the Indian River Bridge.

Both groups offer volunteers who provide rides to medical appointments, grocery stores, barbers and hairdressers, along with home visits for companionship and help with household chores and projects. Your loved ones can join for $750 a year to cover everyone in the house, or for $500 if they live alone. If those costs arent affordable, both organizations might be able to offer scholarships. If youre taking care of someone, getting a membership for your loved one is a great way to give you some extra time for yourself.

Bonus question: Are you looking for a way to take care of local seniors?

Then join SCVV or the VV as a volunteer.

Its a terrific way to help older folks who are homebound or who just need extra help with running errands or getting their weekly shopping done. You can volunteer as many hours a week as you like, providing the companionship and support thats making life better for hundreds of local folks who are now able to live healthier and more independent lives. 

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