Parenting Your Parents: Highlight on Alabama Cares program
By: Lillian Lalo
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Alabama News Network) – This Alabama Cares program is designed to help caregivers navigate their unique responsibilities, demands, and stresses of caregiving. We sat down with Monica Barnes, who explained how this program works.
“We always say there are three types of people. Those who are caregivers, those who were caregivers, and those who are going to be caregivers,” said Barnes.
Barnes defines a caregiver as anyone caring for a loved one. This person does not have to be a blood relative.
“Caregivers are the backbone. Not only for the person that they are caring for but for themselves. And if they don’t get any respite or some type of reprieve, then they dwindle faster than the person that they are caring for,” Barnes said.
Alabama Cares has five components that make up the ways aid is offered to caregivers in our state:
“Counseling is simply one on one counseling. Assistance is just as needed and whatever – people need assistance with. The main component, and what most people like, is the respite and the supplemental,” said Barnes.
Respite, in this case, means giving caregivers a break from their duties.
“That is when someone can come in, and the caregiver can do whatever they want to do. They can take an overnight trip, they can go to the hair salon, or simply go to the grocery store and not be in a rush to get home,” Barnes said.
“Supplemental is help to pay for incontinence supplies, depends, wipes, ensure and emergency response units. So the program helps cover the cost of that. And we also provide education. That is on a variety of topics from estate planning, to nutrition, to wellness, just any and everything in between,” said Barnes.
Barnes said that they are seeing most people in, what they are calling, the sandwich generation. “They have their family, and then they are also caring for their parents. You’ll burn out.”
Another aspect of Alabama Cares is the grandparent program. Which is not only for grandparents, but any person 55 and older caring for a child under 18.
For more information on Alabama Cares, click here https://www.uwaaa.org/