Delaware County programs offer resources
and support for family caregivers
Take Care to Give Care; November is Caregiver Month
Delaware County Councilman John McBlain recognized November as National Caregiver Month to recognize the dedication and sacrifice of caregivers and to educate caregivers about services available to support them in their role. Pictured at the Nov. 2 Council meeting are front from left, Arthur Weisfeld executive director of Senior Community Services (SCS), Debbie Templeton, SCS, Sheelah Weekes COSA, Denise Stewart, COSA director, Councilman John McBlain, Karen Inverso caregiver, Joanna Geiger and Colleen Ferris, COSA. Second row are Sharon White of NHS Human Services, Councilman Mike Culp, Chairman Mario J. Civera Jr., Vice Chair Colleen Morrone, Councilman Dave White, and Trindy Grundy, SCS. For more information on the Caregiver Support Program, contact Debbie Templeton at (484) 540-0372.
Today, more than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled, aged family member or friend during any given year. The group of American citizens 65 and older will quadruple in the next three decades and many of us will be faced with taking on the role as a primary or secondary caregiver for a loved one. Unexpected life events often push adult children into the caregiver role sooner than expected.
According to the 2010 U.S. census, 4.9 million children are being raised solely by their grandparents because their parents are either absent or unable to raise them. While raising a second generation may be rewarding, grandparents who weren’t expecting to be raising children again at this stage in their lives will need to make major adjustments. While caring for an elderly loved one or grandchild is rewarding, it is not without its challenges.
Caregivers must balance the responsibilities of their own families, their careers, all while caring for another family member. Caregivers experience a wide range of emotions and may feel overwhelmed and confused with what steps to take next regarding important decisions, medical, financial, and legal matters. Fortunately, there are many federal, state, and local programs that can help.
One place to turn is to your local Area Agency on Aging. COSA-the County of Delaware Services for the Aging has been serving the needs of the county’s senior population with its over 30 programs and areas of service for over 30 years. COSA’s Information and Referral department is available to answer questions from the general public on the needs of the elderly and assist people in need with appropriate services. In-home services, which include respite, are available and are coordinated by a care manager after a comprehensive assessment to determine eligibility. Adult Day Centers offer an interactive, safe, supervised environment for older adults and adults with a dementia-related disease, Parkinson’s Disease, or other organic brain syndromes. This community-based alternative to institutionalization also acts as a reliable source of support for caregivers.
The Caregiver Support Program, currently contracted by COSA to Senior Community Services, assists you to meet the needs of your loved one. The program can reduce financial and emotional stress often associated with caring for a dependent relative. This program provides financial reimbursement (for caregiving supplies, support services, and home adaptations), resources, and caregiving counseling. This program also links you to other available community resources.
The Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources is a network of agencies utilizing collective resources to most effectively connect seniors and those with disabilities to the best possible programs and services to meet their individual needs. The Link provides support in the following areas: Information & Referral, streamlined eligibility determination for public programs, and helping consumers determine which programs and services best fulfill their needs. Anyone with a disability, who supports someone with a disability, is 60 or older, or supports someone who is 60 or older is encouraged to contact the Link for assistance.
The National Family Caregiver Program assists family caregivers 55 years old and over who are the primary caregivers for a child 18 years of age or younger. The program provides financial assistance for expenses incurred caring for a relative. Family caregivers may be reimbursed for a variety of items specifically necessary to the care of the care receiver based on the individual’s care needs.
For more information about Adult Day Centers, COSA and its programs and services, visit www.delcosa.org or call (610) 490-1300. For more information on the Caregiver Support Program, contact Debbie Templeton at (484) 540-0372. For more information about the Link, visit www.delcosa.org, or contact Joanna Geiger at (610) 490-1842. For more information about the National Family Caregiver Program, contact Kelly Bennett at (610) 499-1810.