If someone you love has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, please know you’re not alone. These diagnoses impact millions of American families. Often, older adults and the caregivers who support them don’t know how to react or what their next steps should be.
Caregivers play a crucial role in supporting their aging loved ones through this diagnosis and the many appointments and changes that come with it. By being in this position, though, many caregivers run the risk of encountering burnout or feeling overwhelmed by their new role.
There is good news, though. There are many local programs and resources created specifically to provide support to caregivers. People and organizations are ready and willing to help those who need it within the Cincinnati area. Let’s take a look at some of the resources and support groups you can turn to when you need them.
Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio
The Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio helps people in a number of ways, including advising them about where to receive the services they need. Among the applicable services offered are the Elderly Services Program (ESP). It helps older adults "from Cincinnati to Oxford, Mason to Wilmington, and everywhere in between" stay safe and independent in their homes by providing senior home care services such as personal care, housekeeping, meals, transportation and more.
ESP expands care seniors may already receive from family and friends and prevents unnecessary nursing home placement. Council on Aging administers the Elderly Services Program in Hamilton, Warren, Butler and Clinton counties. How is this funded? Through county tax levies.
Also helpful is the Caregiver Support Program. The Caregiver Support Program offers help in many ways to caregivers of older adults. This program is open to anyone caregiving for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia and caregivers who meet other qualifications.
Among forms of assistance are:
- Reduction of caregiver stress, burden and injuries;
- Increase of caregiver confidence and knowledge;
- Improvement in quality of care elders receive;
- Help to caregivers seeking to balance their lives and caregiving responsibilities; and
- Providing of respite care (time off or away for the caregiver) in an appropriate, safe environment for caregivers of people with cognitive impairments, including Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Association has a chapter here in the Greater Cincinnati area. They have a 24/7 helpline that can provide information and support whenever you call.
Their family care consultations are a great place to start soon after your loved one receives their diagnosis. Led by a nurse or social worker, these consultations provide support, education, and referrals to needed services. No matter where you are in the journey, these consultations can help you have more peace of mind and confidence in your next steps.
The Alzheimer’s Association also facilitates family support groups, which are discussion groups where participants can share stories, struggles, insights, and tips with others in their same situation. These meetings can help you feel more connected to others who understand your experience. If you need support now, check out their online community with stories and information available around the clock.
Finally, they also have many community-based events for caregivers as well as individuals who live with dementia. The “Memories in the Making” program, for example, includes sessions at places like the Cincinnati Zoo, local museums, and Cincinnati Parks.
ERS Center for Memory Support and Inclusion
Here at Marjorie P. Lee (MPL), we are committed to providing excellent memory care to our residents who need it, as well as support for their caregivers. The Episcopal Retirement Services' (ERS) Center for Memory Support and Inclusion is an initiative dedicated to providing safe and welcoming spaces for all. MPL leverages this program to ensure living spaces are designed to easily navigate and not overwhelm those with dementia. We have implemented and offered the Living Well Memory Support Therapy program that keeps residents engaged and stimulated holistically.
Our staff of kind, caring individuals, are provided with top-tier training to ensure that your loved ones receive the best care possible. This includes improv training to help them positively engage with residents. Finally, the Center has become a leader in the Cincinnati community, advocating for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. We aim to provide local businesses training to ensure that those living with these diagnoses and their caregivers will feel welcomed into these businesses.
The center has expended the helpful, fun and stress-relieving programs it offers to people living with dementia and their caregivers.
Catholic Charities Caregiver Assistance Network
The Catholic Charities Caregiver Assistance Network since 1996 has been a key resource for primary caregivers of aging parents for information about caring for their loved ones.
The network offers several forms of assistance to caregivers throughout Greater Cincinnati, including Hamilton, Clermont, Warren, Butler, and Clinton counties.
Another offering is a six-week class that teaches caregivers ways to access resources, communicate effectively, manage emotions, and decrease stress levels
Other programs include workshops about issues caregivers face, and CAREline, (513) 869-4483, which provides information, referrals, and support.
Pro Seniors provides a free legal hotline for seniors, and also offers community education to help protect seniors from fraud. The organization, founded in 1975, works to enhance the independence and quality of life of older adults by empowering them, protecting their interests, and helping them gain access to resources.
Here are some ways Pro Seniors can help people who are 60 or older who live in Hamilton, Clermont, Warren, Butler, and Clinton counties by letting them speak to an attorney free of charge: When a Medicaid application is denied and you won't want to do. When you're concerned about how a relative is treated in a nursing home. Or if an adult child is stealing your savings.
This video shows how Pro Seniors helps clients — many times, in very significant ways. The Pro Seniors ombudsman advocates for people in nursing homes and other long-term care to ensure they are treated properly. Also, the Ohio Senior Medicare Patrol uses a team of volunteers to teach older adults how to avoid Medicare fraud, scams, and identity theft.
Another helpful resource can be your local senior center.
When you’re caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or dementia, you need to prioritize your care. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Finding a support group will better equip you to take care of those you love and show up well for them.