AARP in Dallas-Fort Worth Offers Support to Local Family Caregivers

Posted on 10/29/21 by Marina Garcia

Becoming someone’s caregiver can be overwhelming and confusing, but AARP offers resources to provide unpaid family caregivers information and support.

“Caregiving usually happens in a crisis situation and you’re thrown into it,” said Susan Williams, an associate state director of outreach and advocacy in AARP's Dallas office. “You need to find out who’s out there to support you and who does what in your community to get help."

Texas Caregiver Resource Guide

Prepare to Care: A Caregiving Planning Guide for Families is a free guide published by AARP that first-time caregivers can utilize. This guide works to inform on basic need-to-know information about what it means to take on the role of a caregiver for a loved one.

AARP has highlighted five important steps individuals should follow when becoming a caregiver:

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  • Start the conversation: while it can be uncomfortable, it’s important to start planning what a loved one’s preferences and values are in terms of their health and financial aspects.
  • Form your team: Caregiving is a huge responsibility that doesn’t have to be shouldered alone, find family members, friends and community programs that can give aid.
  • Make a plan: A caregiving plan help keep the focus on the loved one when issues arise.
  • Find Support: Reach out to organizations and professionals with a background in family caregiving to answer any questions or concerns.
  • Care for yourself: it’s important for caregivers to create a caregiving plan themselves so that they can maintain their health in order to care for others.

AARP in Dallas-Fort Worth partners with other local organizations to give resources and support to members of the community aged 50 plus and their caregivers.

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  • Alzheimer’s Association chapter for the Dallas and Northeast Texas works to hold events and provides resources to caregivers whose loved one has Alzheimer’s.

“We make so much more impact together than we do separately,” Williams said.

Being a loved one’s caregiver is no easy task, and it’s important for those taking up the responsibility as caregiver to make time for themselves.

“They tend to put their own needs off," said Williams. "So it’s just super important for caregivers to make sure they’re doing what they need to do to take care of themselves first and it’s easy to say but not easy to do."

Finding support and staying connected

  • Take Time Texas is offered through the Texas Health and Human Services, which allows caregivers to find reputable respite providers so that they can take time for themselves.
  • I Heart Caregivers gives caregivers a chance to share their story with other AARP members through the website. This is a great way to gather support, help at home, workplace flexibility, training, relief and much more.

Other AARP Guides related to Caregiving:

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The AARP HomeFit Guide looks at how to make homes more age-friendly with room-by-room guides that are doable regardless of housing types and ownership status.

Texas Appleseed and AARP partnered together to create the Toolkit: Managing Someone Else’s Money in Texas to help caregivers manage money and property for their loved ones based on five different caregiver roles:

  • Agents under a power of attorney: this means that your loved one appointed you to handle their money and properties.
  •  Supporters under a supported decision-making agreement: You are named to help a loved-one make decisions for themselves.
  • Court-appointed guardians of the estate: You are appointed by a court to manage the money and property of an incapacitated person or ward.
  • Representative payees and VA fiduciaries: You are appointed by a government agency or the Department of Veterans Affairs to manage the income benefits of a person who needs help managing those benefits.
  • Trustees under a revocable: You are given access to manage the money and property that is in a trust by a granter.

AARP works to provide many resources to caregivers because they understand it can be emotionally, physically, and financially difficult.
 “[Caregiving is] an issue that’s universal, whether it’s caring for your adult children, your parents, your spouse, your friends, it’s just something we all seem to do at some point in our life and everyone needs some help,” Williams said.

Learn more about the Prepare to Care guide or see other caregiving resources AARP has for Texas families here.

-- Reported by Marina Garcia

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