Categories: Health News

Support available for longterm caregivers

WYOMING – Because meeting the long-term care needs of loved ones who need help is often a tough job, support is available for many Wyoming caregivers through the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).

Jeanne Scheneman, National Family Caregiver Support Program manager with WDH, said, “Family members are often the ones providing long-term care for older relatives or for those with disabilities. While these caregivers are generally acting out of love as well as need, their help is sometimes needed all day, every day and that can be tough.”

Many Wyoming residents who are acting as caregivers may not recognize their role or realize support is available to help manage their responsibilities

“People who regularly check in on family members and/or friends, help loved ones dress or bathe, clean their homes or make their meals should realize they are acting as what we describe as caregivers,” Scheneman added.

The National Family Caregiver Support Program helps adults who are caregivers for a loved one 60 years of age or older or for someone of any age who has Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia condition or disorder. In Laramie and Sheridan counties, support is also available for other relative caregivers, 55 years of age and older, who find themselves raising their grandchildren or related children 17 years of age or younger or helping an adult between the ages of 19 and 59 who has a disability. Parents of an adult child who is between the ages of 19 and 59 and has a disability can receive support too.

Assistance offered through the program can include respite support to allow caregivers to have temporary breaks from responsibilities, support group connections and help providing specific, needed services.

“There is no question that caregiving can be rewarding, but it can also lead to emotional, physical and financial burdens,” Scheneman said. “We tell people the first rule of taking care of others is to take care of yourself first.”

Scheneman believes caregiver support can play an important role in avoiding or delaying out of home placements. “That’s a goal for many families,” she said.

Help from the program is available in many Wyoming counties except for Albany, Crook, Niobrara, Park, Platte, Sublette, Washakie and Weston.

For more information about the National Family Caregiver Support Program, which is offered through WDH, call 1-800-442-2766 or email wyaging@wyo.gov.

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