Archive for the ‘ Benefits ’ Category

Becoming a family caregiver can feel like being blindfolded and dropped off in a foreign country with no map or dictionary!  Illness and disability are often unfamiliar topics for many of us, so we may not even know what questions we should be asking or what information we should be seeking.  It is no surprise, then, that family caregivers may not be aware of the many resources, services and products that can help to make the caregiving journey less of a bumpy road.

Family caregivers need to know that assistance is available locally and online.  From adaptive furniture and assistive technology for mobility or vision impaired patients to in-home help for elders or caregiver respite, organizations and businesses can help to make caring for loved ones less complicated.

The resources below are just a taste of services, programs, information or items that can help family caregivers to accomplish their tasks a bit more easily.

Please visit CaregivingCafe’s Directory, which has additional resources!




Local support groups

Today’s Caregiver – find support groups in your area


Online support / tips / info / motivation

Caregiver Action Network – information, resources, support, tips

Caregiving – helping caregivers to cope; community of family caregivers; support

n4a (National Association of Area Agencies on Aging) – Caregiver Support




Organizations that lend a hand

Faith in Action

Check with local places of worship for ministries that provide assistance to seniors, people with disabilities or caregivers at home.


Adult Day Centers

Adult Day Care – find centers in your area. These centers look after seniors while providing safe and stimulating activities so family caregivers can take a break.


More information on Caregiver Respite

Caregiving Cafe: Caregiver Respite Care

Helpguide: finding and choosing respite services, basics

Respite Care Locator




myCNAjobs – apply for caregiver or CNA jobs; caregiver training

Caregiver U – emotional support, fall prevention program for Seniors in Central Texas




Aging Care – eldercare tips, caregiver support, daily living

Area Agencies on Aging – resources by state

Caregiver Action Network – resources for caregivers

The Caregiver Partnership – tools, info & support for caregivers

Monarcares – managing caregiving

Caregiver Access – resources, support, education for caregivers

Caregiving Cafe Resources & Support [PDF] – 1-800-677-1116 for information on helping older adults: finding in-home care, transportation, legal assistance, caregiver self-care…

Eldercare Locator – caregiver respite, housing, transportation, in-home care, LTC, legal assistance




Caregiving Cafe: Disease & Condition Organizations





Express Well – keep health records at your fingertips 

On Time Rx – medication reminder


Assistive Technology

Tobii – devices to help people with speech impairments to communicate

Boundless – devices for people with vision, mobility, hearing, learning impairments

The Caregiver Partnership – links to assistive technology




Mountainside Medical – home medical equipment & supplies

The Caregiver Partnership – incontinence products, caregiver resources

Creative MedConnect – aids & products to help with caregiving



BENEFITS – find out benefits for which you may qualify




Needy Meds – find help with the cost of medicines

Patient Advocate Foundation – help with medications, insurance issues




Eldercare Locator – find residences for seniors




Finding other caregivers

The Caregiver’s Survival Network – connect with other caregivers, find resources

Treatment Diaries – connect with those who share your experience


Sharing updates with family & friends

Care Pages – free patient blogs that connect with family & friends

Caring Bridge – connecting families and loved ones

eCare Diary – caregiving resources and tools

Lotsa Helping Hands – coordinate care, find resources, volunteer




See article: Tools to get your caregiving organized

Senior Care Organizer – collect, organize, store information needed to care for your loved one




TLC Kitchen – nutritious meals delivered to your home

Your local grocer or pharmacy may have a delivery service.




House Call Doctors – doctors making house calls

Visiting Physicians – doctors making house calls

Nurses Unlimited – nurses making house calls




Eastern Royal Medical Transport – long-distance non-medical transport

Metro Access – Austin, TX. Find this service in other US cities




Caregiver Action Network – checklists: medications, doctor’s visit, patient file

National Caregivers Library – health, legal, finances, housing






New caregiving links below have info on finding home care, hospice, reminders to take medications on time and even a mobility device that lets paraplegics walk despite atrophied legs!


OnTimeRx   –  reminders to take your medications on time

Depend One   –  personal medical alert system

ReWalk     –  mobility device for paraplegics

Sensory Swim    –  special needs swim lessons

Enabled Kids    –  enabling children with neurological disorders

Mountain West Chiropractic    –  chiropractic care to restore health

Hospice Palliative Care Ontario    –  info on hospice palliative care in Ontario

Practical Assisted Living Solutions    –  modular home additions for seniors or handicapped persons

AVM Survivors    –  support & community for AVM survivors

Rare Genomics Institute    –  funding research of rare diseases

Fight Conquer Cure    –  Cancer Research Fund for adolescents & young adults

Cancer Center    –  patient-centered cancer treatment

Medicare Wire    –  Medicare news, blogs, benefits



Passing along lots of useful links that can help your caregiving!  Please browse the lists below and visit the websites to find plenty of good resources, tips and inspiration to make your day more manageable.



Inspire – online health & wellness communities for patients & caregivers

Groups@Care – join / form groups with similar interests

Caregiver Stress – caregiving topics, expert advice, self-care

Laughing with Mary Maxwell – humor, quick wit about life

Mary Ann Liebert Publishers – information on science, technology, medicine

Arleen Alleman – author, fiction




aQuire Training Solutions – online training courses, Alz & memory care training courses

Wheelmap – map of wheelchair accessibility around the world

Care Conscious – Educating, preparing family caregivers




Rankings & Research – rates hospitals, nursing homes, health plans, diets, doctors – national clearinghouse

Home Care Generations – home care help in Phoenix, AZ

Golden Touch Caregivers – non-medical home care

Ethos – coordination, delivery of home & community-based care

Visiting Nurse Service of NY – home health care services in NY

Brooke’s Home Care – non-medical home care; Ontario, Canada

Community Connections TimeBank – share talents to help others, get favor back in return, free

Easier Living – medical products, services for home, tips

The Easier Living Blog – help manage day to day

Elders Resource LLC – help with Medicare, locating benefits, filling out forms

CarePlanners – navigate healthcare system, coordinating care for self & family; understand Medicare, insurance, diagnosis

Chamber of Hope – free Oxygen (mHBOT) for sick children, Tampa Bay, FL

AAHCP – directory of doctors who make house calls


The following updates announce benefits for veterans and their families to help them transition into civilian life and work, as well as adding telephone support for spouses of returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans:


Wounded Warrior Careers: It’s Ability, Not Disability That Counts

November 11, 2011


“…In response to these challenges [of transitioning from military into civilian life], the National Organization on Disability (NOD) launched the Wounded Warrior Careers Demonstration to identify and implement new approaches to career transition for Veterans with disabilities. NOD’s research showed that severely Wounded Warriors need specialized career transition assistance.”   Read more




National Organization on Disability

Wounded Warriors Career Demonstration




VA Introduces Make the Connection: Shared Experiences and Support for Veterans

November 14, 2011


Make the Connection, a new campaign launched by the Department of Veterans Affairs, is creating ways for Veterans and their family members to connect with the experiences of other Veterans – and ultimately to connect with information and resources to help them confront the challenges of transitioning from service, face health issues, or navigate the complexities of daily life as a civilian.”  Read more


Make the Connection

VA Mental Health Services

National Resource Directory



Spouse Telephone Support Program Demonstrates Improved Quality of Life

November 18, 2011


“The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is implementing a telephone support program to help the spouses of returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, after a pilot telephone support program showed significant reduction in stress for spouses. The spouse telephone support program, which is part of VA’s Caregiver Support Program, builds spouses’ ability to cope with the challenges that reintegration to civilian society can bring, helps them serve as a pillar of support for returning Veterans, and eases the transition for families after deployments. “   Read more


National Resource Directory – Family & Caregiver Support




DoD Releases Updated Compensation and Benefits Handbook

“The Department of Defense (DoD) recently published the updated Wounded, Ill and Injured Compensation & Benefits Handbook, a comprehensive resource guide describing compensation and other benefits Service Members and their families would be entitled to upon separation or retirement as a result of serious injury or illness.”  Read more


National Resource Directory –  Benefits & Compensation


Update from the US Department of Veterans Affairs:

Links to all VA organizations currently using social media: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube & Blogs can be found at the link below.

VA Social Media Directory




Obama Administration Announces $749 Million to Fund Housing for Very Low-Income Seniors and Persons with Disabilities

“The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is providing $749 million in housing assistance grants to help nonprofit organizations deliver accessible housing, rental assistance and supportive services for the elderly and persons with disabilities. HUD’s Sections 202 and 811 Supportive Housing programs will kick start construction or major rehabilitation on housing developments in 41 states and Puerto Rico. Find out about rental assistance by contacting your local HUD office.”  Read more

Housing Vouchers and Public Housing tweets about benefits and housing every Monday



Social Security Launches New Spanish Online Services at:    Seguro Social

“Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, announced that the agency’s most popular online services, the applications for retirement and Medicare and for Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs, are now available in Spanish.  The new online services are available at, the robust Spanish version of Social Security’s award winning website,”

Seguro Social




Low-Cost Broadband and Computers for Students and Families

By: Josh Gottheimer and Jordan Usdan, Chairman’s Office

November 10, 2011


FCC Chairman Genachowski announced in Washington, DC an effort to bring broadband and computers to low-income families through a new non-profit initiative called “Connect to Compete.”

This project will begin in selected cities in the spring of 2012 and spread to the entire country by September 2012.  Read more


November for me is a month of giving thanks.  One day is not enough to call to mind all our blessings – friends, family, good neighbors, good times, home, comforts, freedom, opportunity, happiness, good health…  This year, I have added 2 more: House Call Doctors and Encompass Home Health.  My husband’s list of things for which to be grateful has been shortened by one: his good health is gone.  And yet, both of us realize that he could be worse.  CRPS has left him homebound and unable to continue his trips to his doctors’ offices, which prompted me to find medical care at home.

Dr. Jaynes from House Call Doctors

Dr. Jaynes from House Call Doctors checks on my husband at home!

House Call Doctors are just that: doctors who visit patients in their home.  After contacting them to find out about their services, all they needed was my go-ahead to begin visits.  They took my husband’s insurance information, verified it, informed me of payment arrangements and we were set.  My husband happens to have Medicare, but House Call Doctors also accepts private insurance and offers self-pay programs for patients without insurance.  I scheduled an appointment for the following week and looked forward to our first house call – so simple!

RN Cindy from Encompass Home Health

RN Cindy from Encompass Home Health monitors my husband at home!

Two doctors have visited my husband and both have been professional, compassionate and personable.  Armed with smart phones, they can access the patient’s medical records as needed.  They also issue orders for the appropriate medical services when additional tests or procedures are needed at home.  X-rays, blood work and oxygen have all been done or administered here.  Between doctor’s visits, nurses from Encompass Home Health have assessed or checked on my husband and advised him on nutrition, caring for his delicate skin and other medical concerns.  They have been courteous, respectful, knowledgeable, supportive and ever so nice!  It’s wonderful to see such team work!  I am touched by everyone’s interest in taking good care of my husband and for a change, I can step back and let them do the caregiving (for a little bit)!

If you know someone who is too unwell to travel to receive medical care, House Call Doctors or Encompass Home Health may be what you need.



House Call Doctors

Encompass Home Health


HHS Provides More than $1.7 Billion to States to Help Low-Income Households with Energy Costs

October 28, 2011



“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is sending more than $1.7 billion to states to help low-income citizens with their heating and home energy costs. The money is being issued under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant. LIHEAP assists qualified families with their home energy needs such as heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. Individuals interested in applying for energy assistance should contact their local/state LIHEAP agency.

Individuals interested in applying for energy assistance should contact their local/state LIHEAP agency. For more information, go to: or”



AF Officials Launch Respite Care Program for Families

by Master Sgt. Raheem Moore
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

October 27, 2011


“Air Force officials have teamed with the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies to launch the Air Force Exceptional Family Member Program Respite Care Program. The program provides a break for parents with special-needs children.  It allows parents to receive 8-20 hours of respite care per month at no charge as long as they meet eligibility requirements. The child must be enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program. To apply for the respite care program, contact Child Care Aware at 800-424-2246.

Visit the National Resource Directory for more resources for parents of children with disabilities as well as organizations that offer respite care for caregivers.

Looking for information about organizations, programs and services near you?

Visit the National Resource Directory’s Information by State section.”

Social Security Announces 3.6 Percent Benefit Increase for 2012

From Social Security Press Office

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


The Social Security Administration has announced that monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will increase 3.6 percent in 2012. The 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with the January 2012 benefit payments. Increased payments for people on SSI will begin on December 30, 2011. For some beneficiaries, the increase in their Social Security benefit amount may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums in 2012.”

Read more