You don’t have to do it alone. Help is available and support may come in many forms. A combination of family, friends, and neighbors plus professional or government services often helps.
Ask about palliative care. Palliative care adds a layer of support for patients and their families as they navigate a serious illness. The palliative care team pays special attention to quality of life and wellbeing over the course of illness. Palliative care can help with a variety of issues, including: symptom management, emotional and practical support for patients, caregiver stress, advance care planning, and end-of-life decisions.
Request help. Tell friends and family that you need assistance. Accept help when it’s offered. Sometimes getting a few promises in place—to handle transportation to medical appointments or dinners on specific days—makes a big difference.
Tap into religious communities. A religious or spiritual community can be a strong source of assistance and emotional support if you or your caregiver belongs to one.
Find assistance. Try BenefitsCheckUp to see what options are available for respite care and other services. Organizations like the American Heart Association may also be able to link you with low-cost or free programs and services that can help.
You can also hire someone to assist with activities of daily living, such as cooking, shopping, bathing, dressing, and managing your medication. The following types of caregivers and services can help with these tasks.
Hired companions and homemakers. These assistants can help with meals, shopping, and laundry; supervise activities; and provide companionship and sometimes transportation. Some hired companions may also be willing to help with personal care.
Certified nursing assistants. These nurses’ aides typically have taken a training course. They are not nurses and are not allowed to administer medications if they’re sent by an agency, but they can help with activities such as bathing, dressing, and personal care.
Home health aides. Home health aides perform personal services, such as bathing and dressing, and they may do light housekeeping.
Nurses. Nurses offer skilled nursing care, including administering medications.
Respite care workers. Respite care workers can relieve a caregiver for varying periods of time.
Transportation services. Some communities offer free or low-cost transportation to medical appointments for people who qualify.
A hospital case manager or social worker can also advise you about local services and may be able to suggest ways to cover the costs.