In today's society it is very common for family members and friends to be involved in providing assistance with the day-to-day living for an older individual.
In many cases this happens slowly over time, but it can also happen quickly when someone suddenly becomes ill and returns home from the hospital or nursing home. This is when you find yourself providing care and assistance you are not prepared or trained to provide.
While caregiving is often rewarding, it can also be financially, physically and emotionally stressful. People caring for an older relative or friend do not always recognize they need assistance or time to care for themselves. In appreciation of your valuable role as a caregiver and in recognition of the assistance you need to also care for yourself, the Department of Social Services’ Division of Adult Services and Aging has developed the South Dakota Caregiver Program.
A caregiver, as defined by the Older Americans Act, is a family member or another individual who is an informal (unpaid) provider of care to a person over the age of 60. You are a caregiver if you help a family member or friend who is ill, disabled or frail by providing the assistance they need.
There are many reasons why a family member or friend might need help with many different kinds of caregiving tasks. You may drive someone to appointments, do yard work, or help with shopping. More than half of family caregivers assist with physical care, such as dressing and bathing. Many also provide nursing care, such as giving medications or monitoring vital signs.
Everyone says it is important to “take care of yourself,” but what does this really mean?
It means not trying to do the job alone, or for too long. You may need to learn how to ask friends and family for help, or get respite care so you can have some time off each week. You may need to hire some in-home help for a few hours a week to assist with housekeeping or cooking. In cases of stress, depression, or illness, don’t forget to seek medical attention.
Some people find it helpful to consult with their pastor or a long-term health care professional to get fresh ideas and moral support.
Most importantly, give yourself permission to ask for help when the responsibilities of in-home care have become too much for you.
What services are available through the South Dakota Caregiver Program?
The following services are available through the South Dakota Caregiver Program.
Information and Referral -- An Adult Services and Aging Specialist can provide you with current information on opportunities and services available in your community and direct you to the appropriate program.
Case Management -- Case Management is a service provided by trained Adult Services and Aging Specialists who can assist you with the coordination of services and care. Case Management includes:
Who do I contact to find out more about these services?
You can contact your local ASA Office or call our toll-free number at 1-866-854-5465.