Area Agency on Aging: The Family Caregiver Alliance thrives

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    By Kay Kaylor
    PREVIEW Columnist

    I advocate for residents in skilled nursing and assisted living residences as the regional long-term care ombudsman. I also am a Senior Medicare Patrol and State Health Insurance Assistance Program counselor, all as an employee of San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA). The many aging and care concerns will be addressed here. 

    The Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA), with information on the Internet at caregiver.org, is a nonprofit founded in 1977 that supports families and friends who care for adults with chronic disabling health conditions. Links on its website direct viewers to support groups, numerous caregiving stories, newsletters, webinars, videos, and current issues, policy and research. Among the variety of foundations, funds and organizations that assist the alliance is the federal Administration for Community Living, which supports area agencies on aging, senior centers and other entities.

     In 2001, the FCA started the National Center on Caregiving, which promotes policies and programs for caregivers, providing information on “caregiving and long-term care issues for policy makers, service providers, media, funders and family caregivers throughout the country.” The center publishes a free newsletter by email titled “The Caregiving Policy Digest” that covers state and national legislation and research.

    The multiple webinars on the website are organized into topics such as “COVID-19 and Caregiving,” “Legal and Financial,” “Self-Care” and “Veteran Caregiver.” The Caregiver Education link offers dozens of fact and tip sheets, including on health topics and caregiving strategies. To find public and private resources with detailed information and phone numbers, use the U.S. map to click on a state in the Family Care Navigator. Caregivers seeking help also can call (800) 445-8106. 

    WellMed grasping tip

    Is it difficult for you to wrap your fingers around a pen? Here are a couple suggestions for people who find it hard to hold onto narrow tools. You might try poking a pen through opposite holes in a Wiffle ball and write while holding onto the ball. Or, try wrapping several rubber bands or masking tape around the shaft to make a clump or around a screwdriver handle to enlarge it for grasping. 

    SJBAAA offers resources for people age 60 and older or on Medicare; see sjbaaa.org. For further information, please call or text 403-2165 or send an email to kkaylor@sjbaaa.org.