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Gina G. MacDonald: Tools for caregivers

It's the Law

Posted: April 11, 2009 12:10 a.m.
Updated: April 11, 2009 4:30 a.m.
The Family Caregiver Alliance has compiled a list of practical tools and resources designed to address the needs of informal caregivers and the professionals supporting them. While a plethora of online information exists, specific tools and resources had not been gathered into one collection where professionals and caregivers alike could quickly and easily access them — until now.

Most of the organizations, Web sites, documents, guides, handbooks, online information and educational materials that were finally included in these two resource lists were those that were mentioned repeatedly online by several respected organizations, listed frequently in resource lists and/or were products of respected organizations in the health and caregiving fields. Tools and resources included in the lists have national relevance because they provide information that could be used in a wide variety of settings/communities.

The directory for caregivers is divided into the following categories:

General information and guides for caregivers of older adults: information on a variety of issues for both the caregiver and the care receiver. Resources mentioned here are good entry points for caregivers who want to learn basic caregiving skills and who are starting to become acquainted with programs and services available to them.

General information and guides for caregivers of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias: information on a variety of issues, with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Self-care for caregivers: resources promote caregiver well-being and include online communities, self-assessment tools and respite resources.

Daily care: tips and advice on how to provide care, including subcategories on hands-on care, communicating with the care receiver and locating services in your community.

Planning/legal/financial issues: legal and financial issues associated with care planning, advance directives, durable powers of attorney, long-term care and public benefits including Medicare and Medicaid (in California — Medi-Cal).

Living arrangements: resources on caring at home, as well as information about living arrangements in a care facility. Topics include home modification, assistive/supportive technologies, housing options and placement issues.

End-of-life care: information on caring for someone approaching the end of her life, including resources on hospice and how to involve friends and other family members in caring for the loved one.
Web sites of major federal government programs: selected federal government programs that specifically target family caregivers or have a major caregiving component.

National Organizations with a Focus on Caregiving for Older Adults selected national organizations that are either dedicated to serving informal caregivers or have a strong focus on the issue.

In addition to a brief description of each item, the chart identifies, in a separate column, the medium in which the resource or tool is available, such as publication, video/DVD, CD-ROM, database, interactive feature or other type of resource.  The Web site to access this information is

MacDonald’s practice is limited to Estate Planning, Probate & Elder Law. She can be reached at (661) 251-1300. Nothing contained herein shall be or is intended to be construed as providing legal advice. Her column represents her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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