The older population in the United States has steadily increased in recent decades and is expected to continue to grow in the coming decades. In fact, experts predict that by the year 2050, the older population in the U. S. will surpass the younger population. The historic number of older Americans has dramatically increased the need for caregivers, often turning family members into unpaid part or full-time caregivers. In honor of National Family Caregivers Month this November, the Essex Junction attorneys at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC discuss caregiver resources for Vermont unpaid caregivers.
Understanding the Need for Care
In less than two decades (by 2040), the number of older Americans (aged 65 and older) is expected to surpass 80 million. As the elderly population swells, the existing systems in place to provide care for them are no longer adequate. Consequently, more and more family members and loved ones are stepping in to provide that care – without getting paid for doing so. These selfless caregivers often suffer physically, emotionally, and financially. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 15 percent of caregivers say they have had at least one mentally unhealthy day and another 18 percent have experienced at least one physically unhealthy day during the most recent month. In a CVS Health and Harris Poll, 13 percent of respondents who were caregivers had to quit their job to provide that care because of caregiver shortages and almost one in four cut their work hours. Almost half of the respondents admitted that being a caregiver is a financial burden. If you are an unpaid caregiver, these statistics are likely not a surprise to you. While your focus is undoubtedly on the person for whom you provide care, it is crucial to remember that your own health, both physical and emotional, is equally important.
Resources for Caregivers in Vermont
As an unpaid caregiver, you may not have a lot of time to spend looking for help and support. It is imperative, however, that you locate the help and support that is available, especially if you will likely be acting as a caregiver for the foreseeable future. To help get you started, consider the following potential resources for caregivers in Vermont:
- AARP. The AARP website provides a list of state specific resources for family caregivers.
- Older Americans Act (OAA). OAA services support Vermonters age 60 and older and are designed to help older Vermonters remain as independent as possible and to experience a high quality of life. OAA services are provided through Vermont’s five Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) and include case management; nutrition services and programs; health promotion and disease prevention; information, referral and assistance; legal assistance; and family caregiver support.
- Central Vermont Council on Aging. On the Central Vermont Council on Aging’s website you will find a wealth of resources, including Alzheimer’s resources, adult day services, and community resources.
- Attendant Services Program. This is a Medicaid program that supports personal care services for adults with a “severe and permanent disability” who need physical assistance with activities of daily living (such as bathing, getting dressed and eating) to remain in their homes. Applicants must be able to direct their own attendant care services.
- Support groups. The Central Vermont Council on Aging offers a list of support groups for caregivers. They also organize regular meetings for caregivers as well as a “caregiver tea” to allow caregivers to rest and socialize with other caregivers.
- Age Well. A nonprofit operating since 1974, offers comprehensive support in Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle counties in Vermont. Through a network of dedicated staff and over 1,000 volunteers, they provide free, personalized services and resources enabling older adults to maintain independence and well-being at home.
- The Alzheimer’s Association. A leading nonprofit committed to supporting individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Through education, advocacy, support, and research, they strive to enhance care, advance treatments, and ultimately find a cure for this challenging condition. They provide education and support groups for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
Do You Have Questions about Caregiver Resources in Vermont?
For more information, please check out our FREE webinars. If you have questions about caregiver resources or questions about protecting assets through Long-Term Care planning, contact an experienced Essex Junction elder law attorney at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC by calling 802-879-7133 to schedule your appointment today.