My top five websites every caregiver should know about are a great place for new caregivers to begin when they embark on their caregiving journey. There are so many great resources to share that I could go on for days, but in this episode, we’ll just focus on five. You’ll also hear a little bit about my caregiving journey and why I do what I do. I often mention my own caregiving experiences when chatting with my guests on the podcast and some of you have expressed an interest in hearing more about that. Caring for my loved ones has been one of the greatest things I’ve ever done and has really shaped the person I am today. If you are a caregiver yourself, I know you can relate to that.
My Top Five
- Polk ElderCare Guide
- Eldercare Locator
- Alzheimer’s Association
- AARP Family Caregiving section
- Family Caregivers Alliance
To learn more about why I like these sites, listen to episode 22. If reading is more your style, keep scrolling, and read the full transcript below.
- Caring for Caregivers – The Alzheimer’s Association – episode 3
- Finding Eldercare and Disability Resources – episode 21
Thanks for listening
If you found value in today’s conversation, I’d really appreciate it if you would leave a positive review and share the sage aging podcast with a friend. If you have topic ideas you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at info@Sageaging.us
5 websites every caregiver should know about – Episode 22
Recorded August 24, 2020
Liz Craven 00:00
Thank you for listening to the Sage Aging podcast. This episode is brought to you by Polk ElderCare Guide, your guide to all things senior care and resources available in both English and Spanish. You can find the guide at PolkElderCare.com
Liz Craven 00:26
Welcome to the Sage Aging podcast. I’m your host Liz Craven. The mission of Sage Aging is to help you connect to information and resources that will empower you to master the aging and caregiving journey. Weekly, I’ll bring you great conversations with industry professionals and others to shed some light on topics of aging and to empower you to take charge of your journey. So grab a cup of coffee, or maybe a cool glass of lemonade, and sit back and relax as we chat. Are you ready? Hit subscribe now. Let’s get started.
Liz Craven 01:03
Welcome to Episode 22 of Sage Aging. If you’ve listened to the show before, you know that I normally have a guest on to chat about the chosen topic, but this week, I decided to do something a little different and do the episode solo. I often mention my own caregiving experiences when chatting with my guests, and some of you have expressed an interest in hearing more about that, so today I’d like to share a little bit about my life and why I do what I do. And I’m also going to share my top five favorite websites with you that every caregiver should know about.
Liz Craven 01:43
Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my own multi-generational family living together in one home. I think I was probably, I don’t know, four or five years old when my grandmother moved into our home to help care for my sisters and I while our parents worked. Now She was about the same age then as I am now. That kind of makes me chuckle a little bit. She was in her early 50s. With all of her children grown, it just made sense for her to come and live with us to help my parents out. Later, her father and grandfather moved in, and we had five generations living under one roof. Now that was a beautifully chaotic adventure and knowing what I know now, gosh, I have so much respect for what my parents and my grandmother did. So fast forward to age 24. Newly married and pregnant with our first child, I spent several months living with my in laws to help care for my husband’s grandmother Mabel, who had Alzheimer’s. Wes’ mom and stepdad had cared for Mabel in their home when it became unsafe for her to be by herself. My in laws both worked full time, so to give them time to find the right care placement for I stayed with them to help out. Now that was my first real experience with Alzheimer’s. I had heard of it before, but I really hadn’t ever seen it up close and personal. Mabel was a very sweet, but strong willed lady. I had never had the opportunity to know her well before her dementia took hold but I could see an incredible spark in her eye and a soft kindness that was so endearing. And the time that I spent with her, it taught me a new level of admiration and patience, and an appreciation for what dementia steals from its captives. It made me sad not to have been able to know her before. Now once the right placement was found, Mabel was moved to a small group home and I went home. I went home changed for the better for sure. At some point during her assisted living stay, Mabel fell and she was hospitalized. So the family was faced with the task of making a choice of which nursing home to send her to when she was released from the hospital. But the only resource we had was a photocopied piece of paper with phone numbers on it. No advice as to what to look for or how to choose what questions to ask. We were told to just make phone calls. Well, anyone who knows my husband knows that that would not be good enough. At a time when Google was not a thing he exhausted every avenue of information he could find to learn more, and to make a good choice for Mabel. We didn’t know it at the time. But that was how our senior resource guide Polk ElderCare Guide was born. You’ve all heard that English proverb; ‘Necessity is the mother of invention.’ Well, that definitely applies here. That’s the situation we found ourselves in. And so we found a way. We did the research. We went to the libraries and to neighbors and friends and anywhere we could to find good information. Well, in the end, we did find very good care for Mable and we learned an awful lot along the way too.
Liz Craven 05:09
Eventually, Wes decided to take that knowledge and all he learned from that experience and use it to help other people who might be in the same situation. And in 1993, we published the first edition of Polk eldercare guide. for 27 years, we’ve been dedicated to connecting people to the resources and tools that they need to navigate the aging and caregiving journey. We’ve been really fortunate to be able to do something with our lives, that makes a really big difference for other people. Now along the way, we’ve been caregivers three more times for both of our mothers who each had cancer and for Wes’ stepfather, who had Alzheimer’s. And to say that being a caregiver is overwhelming, well, that would be an understatement. Even as much as we know, and as connected as we are in the aging care industry, it was hard. There’s no way to prepare emotionally for what you experience as a caregiver. And surely every single caregiving experience is different. There are lots of highs and some amazing and memorable moments that I’m so glad we were able to have. And honestly, caring for my mom allowed me to find an incredible closeness and a bond with her that was even greater than the one we had before. We’d always been close, but when you are experiencing that with somebody and you know that end of life is near, that’s an irreplaceable experience and can serve to be one of the silver linings that you find in that relationship between you. There were struggles, lots of struggles too, and sometimes as a caregiver, you feel powerless and you feel helpless because you can’t fix what is wrong. You become fatigued, stressed out, depressed. Anyone who’s been a caregiver for any amount of time understands that. And that’s exactly why having information and resources to guide you along the way is so important. This podcast is yet another extension of our commitment to make good information and resources available, and more importantly, accessible to anyone who needs it. We’re fortunate to have so many community partners who help us to do that by advertising in the Polk ElderCare Guide. And if you’re one of those companies who supports us in that way, thank you. We appreciate your help in making a free guide and this podcast possible and available for anyone who needs it. And there you have it, all of that. That’s why I do what I do. It’s why my personal and professional commitment to help is so strong. caring for someone is stressful. It’s stressful enough, all on its own, so if we can remove even just a little bit of the stress for someone by guiding them to what they need, then we all win. I know that my story resonates with a lot of you because you’re living, or maybe have lived, in a similar reality. I for one am thankful for the experiences I’ve had and for the awesome (and sometimes scary and overwhelming) privilege of caring for someone that I love.
Liz Craven 08:26
You know, if I had a nickel for every time someone asked me where to start looking for information, I’d be a really wealthy woman. I’m going to cap this episode off by sharing with you a few of my go to websites. Some of them I’ve mentioned before on other episodes, there are so many great websites and so much great information but these five are always my recommended starting point depending on a person’s situation. So I’m not digging deep with information here. These are the places that I would recommend someone new to the caregiving journey or someone maybe who is preparing for their own later years to begin.
Liz Craven 09:07
The first one I’m going to recommend, I think this is probably an obvious one, but that would be PolkElderCare.com. That’s my website. So of course, I know I’m a little biased, but this website is packed with great information. And it’s a great tool for anyone, but especially helpful to someone who’s beginning their caregiving journey or proactively planning for their later years. Now, each section will provide you with a really great explanation of what you need to know. It’ll define you know, what is homecare, what is home health care, what is assisted living, so you’re going to get a lot of good information, basic information about what you need. You’ll also find some questions to ask worksheets to aid you when you’re choosing care. Those are really important to pay attention to you don’t have to pave the path on your own. It’s already been paved for you. So great tools, the information will be helpful no matter where you live, but if you live in Polk County, the comprehensive directories that are in that guide will also be helpful to you. So that’s the first one. Polkeldercare.com.
Liz Craven 10:18
The second website I want to lead you to, and I’ve mentioned this in multiple podcasts before is the Eldercare Locator. Now this is probably the very first place I send people who are searching for local resources. If they live where I live, it’s very easy for me to directly guide them to programs and services that will assist and in Polk County where I live, that would be the Senior Connection Center. But if you live out of my area, then sometimes I’m not really sure what the exact resource will be. But if you go to the Eldercare Locator, there you’ll be able to search for your local Area Agency on Aging. Now if you were with us last week, you learned all about Area Agencies on Aging and what they do. If you missed it, it’s worth listening to go on back to Episode 21 and take a listen to that and you’ll understand what we’re talking about. But the Eldercare Locator allows you to find your local agency by simply entering your zip code. The website also includes a Caregivers Corner and information on a wide variety of commonly asked about topics. So that’s a website, that if I were you, I would spend some time exploring.
Liz Craven 11:36
The next website that I’d like to call your attention to, and we’ve called your attention to this one before that would be all the way back in Episode Three, the Alzheimer’s Association, and that’s alz.org. If your loved one has any kind of dementia, connecting to this website and this organization is like winning the lottery. The website is comprehensive and you can spend a lot of time there, but if you’re beginning your journey, start with the first tab. That’s where you’re going to find a lot of information about Alzheimer’s itself. Then after you’ve explored that area, head to the local resource tab and find your local chapter. You really need to connect to the local chapter because they provide a lot of ongoing caregiver education and support. And I promise you, it will be a Godsend for you. So that’s the third one Alzheimer’s Association alz.org. That’s also a goldmine.
Liz Craven 12:40
The next website I want to lead you to is the AARP family caregiving section of aarp.org. Now the AARP website, if you’ve ever been there, you know that it can be a little bit overwhelming because there is so much information there. You can’t possibly Take it all in at one time. So a good starting point is the caregiving section, which includes a Caregiver Resource Center that is packed with tools and information. I would say keeping AARP on your radar is also a good thing because they’re constantly updating with the most current information. Right now you’ll find a lot of information related to covid including information and tips and avenues for extra help. So definitely put that one on your list to make a visit to AARP family caregiving section.
Liz Craven 13:37
The next website, the fifth and final, for this episode anyway, I actually have a really really long list of websites I’d like to send you to but I think we’re gonna go bite-size with this episode, the Family Caregivers Alliance. Now my favorite section of this site is the Learning Center and that’s found under the caregiver education tab. The Family Caregiver Alliance Learning Center has an online learning community that offers all kinds of information and training and classes. And what’s beautiful about it is that that goes by your schedule. If you’re a caregiver, you’re busy, you don’t always have the the 10 minutes in your day or 30 minutes in your day when someone else would want you to have it. So this allows you to go at your own pace. And do it when you have time. I really like that about this learning center. So now more than ever, it’s hard to get out and about and local inperson programs aren’t running. So hop online and check out the Learning Center at the Family Caregiver Alliance website. That’s caregiver.org I think that it’s awesome. And I think that you’ll find it very helpful too. And they also, by the way, are always updating those classes and adding more. There’s lots of other information on that website that you’ll want to take a look at. But that’s my favorite part for you to start with. Now, obviously, this is a small list of websites and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. My theme here was the beginning journey, you know, helping somebody who’s just getting started with their caregiving journey or trying to be proactive and learn the basics. But there are many, many more fabulous resources for you to explore. Now, I’ll be doing more episodes like this to call your attention to other helpful resources, and not just websites, but books and and any other websites and organizations that we can find that we think will be helpful. We’re keeping a list of those and we’re exploring those so that we can share them with you. If you have a specific type of resource that you’d like to hear more about, let me know I would love to do the research and find some resources for you. So just drop us a line at info@Sageaging.us and we will put that on our list to explore.
Liz Craven 15:57
You know as a caregiver, the more you know The better caregiver you are and the easier your caregiving journey will be. Not that it can ever be really easy, but it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it is without the right resources. Thank you so much for listening. I was recently asked by a listener what they could do to help support the podcast. The easiest way to support is to subscribe to Sage Aging through your favorite podcast app. You can also leave us a review, you can do that on Facebook, and share the podcast with friends who will benefit from it. If you do any of those things, I would really be grateful. I would love to be able to spread this to more people so that others can have access to the information that you’re getting as well. If you have topic ideas or guests you’d like me to invite onto the show. I’d love to hear from you. drop me a line at info at Sage aging.us. Now I’m going to leave you with a quote from four First Lady, Rosalyn Carter, ‘There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.’ A little food for thought. Until next time, make it a great day.
**The Sage Aging podcast is brought to you by Polk ElderCare Guide. A comprehensive senior resource guide empowering you to navigate the aging and caregiving journey successfully.
As I’ve been preparing to launch this podcast I’ve enjoyed revisiting stages of my own life and reflecting on how this topic became such a passion for me. While I’ve built my career on helping older adults and their families connect to needed education and resources, my connection to the aging and care process goes much deeper.
Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my own multi-generational family living together in one home. I was 4 or 5 when my grandmother moved into our home to help care for my sisters and I while our parents worked. Soon after, her father and grandfather moved in as well. We had 5 generations living under one roof! That was a beautifully chaotic adventure and knowing what I know now, I have so much respect for what my parents and grandmother did.
Fast forward to age 24. Newly married and pregnant with our first child, I spent several months with my in-laws to help care for my husband’s grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. Fast forward again to about 2009 – Wes and I have two teenagers about to head to college and his mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years later, my mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years after that Wes’ stepdad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and his father is suffering from severe dementia. You can see where this is going right? For the better part of the last 10 years we have been the caregivers. We see it as an honor and privilege to have been able to do that for our parents.
The key to navigating our later years is being proactive about gathering information before we get there and staying engaged once we do. To be sage is to be wise. There is wisdom in taking the time to ask questions, seek solutions and know your options before the need arises.
Each week we will discuss relevant topics of aging with experts who can help us to understand and be better prepared for aging. We’ll also introduce you to some Sage Agers who are totally owning their journeys through life. No topic will be off limits and we will deliver open and honest conversation meant to educate and empower our listeners. Each episode will also be available in video and blog formats.
Whether you are proactively seeking to broaden your own knowledge, a caregiver for a loved one or a professional working in the aging care industry, this podcast is for you. We hope you will join us as we explore and celebrate Sage Aging.