Family caregiving is a challenging commitment in itself and, despite how you may be feeling, you are not alone.
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, 14 percent of family caregivers care for a special needs child with an estimated 16.8 million caring for special needs children under the age of 18. Fifty-five percent of these caregivers are caring for their own children; furthermore, according to recent studies, one in four adults act as a caregiver to a child or parent with a disability, disease or special need.
And, while the need is great, so, too, are the resources available for family caregivers taking care of a loved one with special needs. Here’s a look at 10 resources that can make a caregiver’s experience more manageable:
- CareTogether.com, a free, private Website that family caregivers can use to manage the care of their loved one using a shared calendar, update functionality and more www.caretogether.com
- Care.com, a place where you can find local special needs caregivers, http://www.care.com/special-needs
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, caregiving tips for families with special needs www.cdc.gov/family/specialneeds
- Friends’ Health Connection, links persons with illness or disability and their family caregivers with others experiencing the same challenges www.48friend.org
- Family Voices, Inc., offers information on healthcare policies relevant to special needs children in every state www.familyvoices.org
- National Family Caregivers Association, national nonprofit which empowers family caregivers to act on behalf of themselves and their loved ones www.thefamilycaregiver.org
- BrightStar Care, home care services offering companion, personal and skilled care services for people with special needs, www.brightstarcare.com, 866-618-7827
- Caring.com, advice from experts on caregiving
- Easter Seals Inc., services and information about disabilities affecting young children and older adults www.easterseals.com, 800-221-6827 , Chicago, IL
- Caring From a Distance, offers information and tools to help caregivers whose family members live far away www.cfad.org