A Toolkit For Family Caregivers
Caring for family members with mental or physical health conditions is a great responsibility, yet people often take on this role with little or no training and little understanding of their loved one’s illness.
While caring for a loved one has rewards, being on duty all hours of the day can be stressful, exhausting and isolating, strains that can threaten the caregiver’s own health. This toolkit pulls together national and local resources from expert sources to help caregivers in a range of situations find support and help with common needs so that they can provide more effective care for the people they love — and for themselves.
The Senior Source
The Senior Source is a Dallas-based nonprofit that provides a range of services for older residents in the area and their families. Services for older residents include help with guardianship, financial advice and protection and help finding employment, to name a few.
- Caregiver Support Program — This program includes a support group with monthly meetings, as well as resources on topics like in-home services, legal needs, transportation and mental health services.
- Eldercare Partners — These professional care managers help families navigate care options and advocate for a loved one who is elderly or has disabilities.
- Legacy Corps — This program benefits veterans and military families by providing support for caregivers, including relatives caring for veterans. Trained volunteers provide a range of services, including in-home respite care, transportation and information on community resources.
Texas Department of Health and Human Services
HHS operate state services in a range of areas, including aging, substance abuse, mental health and people with disabilities. Incluye muchos recursos en español.
- Aging — This page has links to information on an array of topics, from long-term care to safety to health to financial needs.
- Services for Caregivers – This page links to information on caregiver needs and services, including respite care.
- A Texas Guide to Adult Guardianship — This 60-page, downloadable guide provides information on many issues and regulations related to guardianship for elderly people in Texas or people with intellectual disabilities.
- Children’s Mental Health — This page links to a range of information on topics like child and youth assessment services, community mental health services, family services, counseling services and more.
North Central Texas Area Agency on Aging
The agency serves adults age 60 and older and their family caregivers who live in Collin, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, Palo Pinto, Parker, Rockwall, Somervell and Wise counties. The site has information on health and social services for older adults and family caregivers to help older people maximize their quality of life and live as independently as possible.
- Information for Caregivers — Topics on this page include a caregiver respite care program, specialists and contractors who help caregivers find resources, information for people raising grandchildren and “Building Better Caregivers” classes.
- Information for Older Adults – This page has links to direct services such as benefits counseling, contract services like home-delivered meals and FAQs about services provided by the agency.
National Alliance on Mental Illness | North Texas
The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) provides resources and classes for caregivers and family members of children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral support needs. Incluye recursos en español.
- NAMI Basics — This free, six-session program helps parents and other family caregivers of children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral difficulties understand the mental health conditions that may be causing behavioral difficulties and the critical role families play in the treatment of those conditions.
- NAMI Education schedule and registration — This page lists classes and training for people living with mental health needs and for families and friends who care for people in those circumstances.
- Video Resources on Mental Health — These videos explain NAMI North Texas’s programs and goals.
The AARP has numerous resources for caregivers in various situations, as well as helpful articles with tips and information for practical needs. Incluye recursos en español.
- Local Resources and Solutions — Localize this page to your community to get links to a huge range of services, from lists of senior living options to tips on “How to Inspect a Nursing Home Like a Pro.” You’ll also find information on signing up for Medicare, finding legal help and other resources specifically for caregivers.
- Family Caregiving — This link provides information on caring for a loved one, legal and financial guidance, and personal stories from other caregivers.
- How to Get Caregiving Help From the VA — This link provides information about caregiver support from the VA, as well as pension and housebound benefits information. It also has links to health and caregiver services and keys to working with the VA.
- More Caregiving Time-Savers: Medication Management — This link provides information on how to best organize medications and create and maintain an updated medication and supplement list. It also has advice on incorporating technology to organize medications.
- Care at Home — This link leads to information on how to find and hire caregivers, best ways to avoid conflict as a family caregiver and compensation for caring for a loved one.
USA.gov is operated by the federal government to link people to a range of services and resources, including ones selected here to provide support for caregivers in various circumstances. The content covers topics such as finances, where to find support and organizations to assist and employment for individuals with disabilities. Incluye recursos en español.
- Medline Plus: Caregivers — This umbrella site links to information on a large array of needs and services for caregivers, including the personal and mental health of caregivers, caring for older adults or children and finding help in the community.
- National Institute on Aging: Caregiving — This site has advice and articles to help family members be more effective caregivers. Topics include long-term care, advance care planning, Alzheimer’s caregiving, long-distance caregiving and tips for doctor appointments.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Caregiver Support — This extensive site has information on a range of services specifically for those caring for veterans. Topics include caring for finances, Caregivers Support Line and tips for self-care.
- Internal Revenue Service: Caregivers — These FAQs address common questions such as guidance on taxable income related to caregiving and listing deductions.
USA.gov: For caregivers of family members with disabilities or special needs
- Caregiver Support – These resources and suggestions can help you find emotional support and help with caregiving tasks as someone caring for a parent, spouse or child with special needs.
- Financial Assistance and Support Services – This webpage has links to a wide range of programs and tools to help with housing, taxes, medical bills, service and emotional support animals and much more.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC has exhaustive information on a full range of diseases and conditions as well as advice on healthy living. Incluye algunos recursos en español.
- Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Aging — This webpage has great resources about caring for yourself while caring for others, information about the greater risks for Alzheimer’s for people in minority groups and women and resources on healthy aging.
- Caregiving — This page has information on the stresses and rewards of caring for an older adult. It links to a template for creating a Complete Care Plan for elderly adults receiving care, which tracks vital information such as health conditions, medications, healthcare providers, preferred hospitals, whether an advance directive has been completed and much more.
- Health Literacy: Tips for Caregivers — This page has information to help caregivers build skills to support older adults with complicated medical conditions. It also includes links to articles on communication skills for caregivers.
- Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults — This site has information for helping older adults plan for emergencies.
- Families with Special Needs: Caregiving Tips — This page has advice for balancing the demands of daily routines, personal needs and caregiving while keeping the family healthy. There are numerous links to great resources like organizations supporting caregivers and information on various diseases and conditions.
In addition providing information about Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, this website helps caregivers connect with support groups in their areas and online. Incluye muchos recursos en español.
- Alzheimer’s and Dementia — Topics on this page include understanding Alzheimer’s and other dementias, how Alzheimer’s progresses, recognizing early signs, risk factors, treatments and current research.
- Help and Support — This page is a boon to caregivers and Alzheimer’s patients they care for, with articles on care options for people with Alzheimer’, advice for protecting the health of caregivers, finding support services and much more.
- Training and Education Center — These online training courses address such issues as having conversations about driving, doctor visits and other sensitive topics, legal and financial planning and living with Alzheimer’s at various stages.
- Dallas and Northeast Texas Chapter — This page has information on local events and opportunities for volunteering, finding support services and getting more information on Alzheimer’s.
- Local Support Groups — This page provides links to support groups for caregivers, family members and people living with Alzheimer’s. Enter a zip code and get a list of groups within a specified distance.
- Early Stage Social Engagement — Calendar of local activities where people with early stages of dementia can interact socially in a community setting.
The Mayo Clinic has several articles on caregiving for people in various situations. Articles start with general information and include tabs with links to deeper looks at specific needs and to websites for other organizations and resources that can be useful to caregivers, including the Family Caregiver Alliance and Medicare’s service for comparing nursing homes and home health providers. Incluye recursos en español.
- Caregiver stress — This page deals with the risk of stress factors for caregivers and has advice for relieving stress.
- Caregiving for elderly parents — This page offers practical advice for children caring for aging parents.
- Alzheimer’s Caregiver — This page has advice for caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.
- Stress Management — This page discusses how stress affects our bodies and has advice for managing stress.
- Additional articles on caregiving — Mayo has many resources for caregivers in specific situations, including caregiving for cancer patients, long-distance caregiving and much more.
Dallas Independent School District
Dallas ISD provides links to several mental health resources for students and parents.
- Youth and Family Centers — These centers provide mental health services for Dallas ISD students and their families and physical health services for Dallas County residents ages 4–21.
- Mental Health Services — This page has detail on mental health services provided through Youth and Family Centers, including evaluation and assessment, psychiatric consultation and group, individual and family counseling.
- Student Support Resources — Needs on this page range from bullying to mental health conditions to substance abuse to homelessness.
- Social and Emotional Learning — Links on this page include communication and parent and family resources.
- Mental Health Crisis Protocols — This page outlines processes schools and other district entities should follow when crises arise involving circumstances like student substance abuse, bullying, threats of violence, death of a student or staff member and other crises.
Sesame Street in Communities
This service from the creators of Sesame Street provides articles, videos, games and other resources to address challenges in young children’s lives, including traumatic experiences, grief, divorce, military deployment, parental addiction, community violence and incarceration. Many resources are designed for children, often starring favorite characters from the street where everyone matters. Incluye recursos en español.
- Family Caregiving — Who better than Elmo and Rosita to help children talk about having “big stormy feelings inside?” These resources emphasize communication and support to help children deal with worries, confusion, anger and other feelings that come when a loved one is injured or ill.
- Resilience — The resources on this page help children with challenges like learning patience, persistence and overcoming mistakes.
- Offering Comfort — Support from a caring adult can be deeply reassuring to children facing challenges or crises. This page provides tools to help parents provide that support.