The question that we get asked most frequently here at Caring Village is: “I want to use the Caring Village app to organize and coordinate my caregiving activities, but I don’t have anyone to help me out. How can I get the help I need, when I don’t have a “village” of friends and family nearby?” This is a very common sentiment, primarily because most people don’t know about the numerous services available to family caregivers. Below is some information on the options available, both free and paid services, to help you build your village and get the help that you need to take care of you and your loved one.
How to Build Your Village
We know that asking for or accepting help, especially from those who you might not know well, can be difficult. However, it is important to keep in mind that most people are willing and able to help but often times don’t know how. When given the opportunity, many individuals can gain a renewed sense of purpose when afforded the opportunity to help. Especially those who may be retired, out of work, or even empty-nesters. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when asking for help to build your own village of helpers. There are also numerous organizations that run volunteer programs that are happy to help. Here are some suggestions of places to look for help:
- Faith Communities
- Boy Scouts of America
- Girl Scouts of the USA
- Village to Village Network*
*Depending on where you live, you might be able to get help from one of the local villages (affiliated with the Village to Village Network) which provides numerous services to help communities establish and maintain their own aging in place initiatives. You can find out if there is a VTVN village near you by looking at their interactive Village Map.
Caregiving Assistance Services
We also know that you aren’t always able to get volunteers to help out when you are in a crunch. The services below can help ease some of the caregiving burden when you need it most.
Often times, those who don’t have a big network of friends and family require outside assistance from homecare companies. There are many options to provide this care. You can learn about the different types of care available and even get assistance finding a professional caregiver in your area here. In addition to in-home care, many of the groups above will help out with light household chores. The Boy Scouts of America, in particular, provides volunteer shoveling and raking services in the winter and fall to aging adults. You may also want to look into adult day care.
One of the biggest challenges with caregiving is juggling busy schedules and finding reliable and safe transportation options for medical appointments, routine household chores, shopping trips, emergency services and even social gatherings or events. Luckily, there are numerous options available to families and many are free or covered by Medicaid (and in some instances Medicare).
The five most common transportation options available are volunteer driver programs, public transit, paratransit, door-through-door services, and paid car and ride hailing services that offer special assistance to seniors and those with disabilities. Uber and Lyft in particular both have unique programs in place to help those in need. Find out how to search for these services in your community here.
If you aren’t able to find help from civic groups or neighbors, there are also numerous meal delivery options that can be leveraged both on a consistent basis and on demand. These can free up some of your time and reduce the stress of meal preparation. Learn more about the best meal delivery services for aging adults here.
Checking out caregiver resources available in your area is a great place to start. We hope that we have given you some new ideas on how to build your village, search for the services you need, and get some of your day back. Remember, there is help out there. Don’t be afraid to ask!