Sun cities Caregivers can get short-term breaks

By Hugh Duncan

The Mission of the Sun City Community Assistance Network is to, “Connect people with resources to enhance their standard of living.

Hugh Duncan

In other words, Sun City CAN helps people save money on things like property taxes, income taxes, utilities, Medicare premiums, prescription drugs and other things.

Many benefits go unclaimed simply because people are unaware that the benefits exist. In an effort to shed light on some of the help that is available to low-income seniors, I will write a column each month about a different senior help program.

Caregiver breaks

Help is available to caregivers of elderly family members.

Individuals who care for an elderly spouse, parent or grandparent can get a break from their demanding caregiver role to shop, run errands or simply attend a movie.

The Area Agency on Aging is the point of contact for this service, which is called Respite Care. This program provides short-term breaks, usually four hours, that relieve stress, restore energy and promote balance in the caregiver’s life.

In-home short-term care is provided by trained, skilled care giving professionals.

To be eligible for this program, family members must be providing care to a person 60 or older, or to someone of any age with a diagnosis of dementia. Applicants will receive an in-home assessment by a case manager. This assessment must indicate that the care receiver (the patient) has a moderate functional impairment with two or more activities of daily living. Examples of ADL’s are eating, bathing, dressing and undressing, going to the toilet and walking.

There are no income limits for this program but priority is given to family caregivers who are in the greatest social and economic need with particular attention to low-income and older individuals and those dealing with dementia. In many cases, there is no cost to the caregiver. A copay may be required.

Applicants for this program typically spend time on a waiting list pending final approval and availability of funding. To learn more about this program, call the Area Agency on Aging’s 24-hour Senior Help Line, 602-264-4357, and ask for information about respite care.

Editor’s Note: Mr. Duncan is Sun City CAN board president.

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