When her father suddenly passed away, Linda was immediately thrown into the role of caregiver for her mother, Edith, who was facing the early stages of dementia and unable to care for herself on her own. Stories like Linda’s are becoming more and more common as the parents of baby boomers reach their 70s and 80s.
“Taking on the caregiving role is a stressful time, not only for the older adult who is facing a loss, but for the family member who, as the caregiver, is looking for the best possible resources to help their loved one while also dealing with everyday responsibilities at work and caring for their own family,” says Madelyn Iris, director of research at Council for Jewish Elderly (CJE), a partner in serving our community, supported by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.
So where do new caregivers turn when they need assistance to care for their loved ones and themselves?
A new CJE website, “CAREgiving Help,” at www.CAREgivinghelp.org, is a good place to start. This new internet-based service is an educational, informational website for spouses, family members and others who are caring for older people (CARE stands for Caregiver, Assistance, Resources and Education). The website offers information relevant to a wide-range of caregiving situations, including people new to caregiving, as well those who have been providing care for some time. It also provides information and resources for families that are handling care-related decisions from out of town.
The site includes:
- Educational videos and other materials that illustrate common issues, demonstrate specific tasks or skills, or provide suggestions for those who are caring for older people.
- Frequently asked questions to guide those new to caregiving to appropriate information and resources.
- A message board providing the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers from a Geriatric Care Specialist. Caregivers’ questions are reviewed by the Geriatric Care Specialist before being posted on the message board along with an answer, which can be viewed by anyone visiting the site.
- Access to more consultation with the Geriatric Care Specialist via phone or in-person, available for a fee.
- Relaxation and reflection exercises designed to provide caregivers with brief opportunities for themselves and ways to relieve stress.
- A comprehensive resource page with links to other websites, organized by topic.
- Access to CJE’s Community Resources Online, a searchable database of Chicago-area services and programs for people of all ages.
- A login feature that allows registered users to receive e-mail reminders regarding what’s new on the site or to provide feedback on how to improve the site.
For more information about the website and research study, contact Molly Haroz, CJE’s research operations manager, at (773) 508-1029 or firstname.lastname@example.org.