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Caregiver Support

caregiver picturecaregiver pictureVA Caregiver Support Program

Caregiver: Someone who provides whatever is needed for another person's well-being.

Family Caregiver Support Program: Support to the person who provides whatever is needed for another person's well-being.
  • Cooking meals
  • Providing transportation
  • Cleaning house
  • Arranging for services
  • Buying groceries caregiving and senior friendly logo
  • Assisting with bathing
  • Managing medicines
  • Paying household bills

That Sounds Like Me!



Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center: 

I Don't Have Time to Take Care of Myself!


Likely the best thing a caregiver can do for their loved one is to take care of themselves.

Caregivers tend to put their own needs on the back burner.

But if you're not healthy you can not provide assistance to another.

  • When did you last have a medical check-up?
  • When did you last engage in a fun, favorite activity?
  • When did you last get together with friends or family for some fun?
  • When did you last sleep all night?

It's okay and important to take care of yourself!

Research indicates that 46% - 59% of caregivers are clinically depressed.  When did you last talk about your feelings with someone?

Pay attention to:
eating right, getting enough sleep and exercising some!

Check out: 
the Caregiver Stress test at website



 Is There Some Equipment That Will Help?


Have you ever had to call a tow truck to change a tire? They come with all the right equipment and in a flash and with seemingly little effort the tire is changed! Don't you want to say "Well if I had all that stuff I could do it myself!"

Having the right equipment can make caregiving tasks simpler, faster and more efficient. Discuss needs with your doctor. Ask for a physical or occupational therapy evaluation.

Equipment To Consider:

  • Bedside commode
  • Hand-held shower head
  • Handrails
  • Lift chair
  • Ramp
  • Raised commode seat
  • Shower seat / bath bench
  • Walker
  • Wheelchair

Contact agencies from the phonebook under Hospital Equipment and Supplies or under Medical Equipment and Supplies.

Contact the Caregiver Support Program at the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services for assistance at 704-432-1111.


Where Can I Find Some Support?


I'd just like to know I'm not in the boat by myself!

Support groups, training and counseling may be the answer. Groups meet at various times in different locations all over the county.
They are all different - - - one size does not fit all!

If your loved one is in another county - contact the Area Agency of Aging 704-372-2416.

Support may be as close as family members. Being specific with your brother about what you need him to do to help with Mom may result in quicker cooperation.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Group Meeting - Free

Call  980-314-7076 for more information or to RSVP if you plan to attend. Usually meets 2nd Monday of the month. Childcare provided.

Department of Social Services
3205 Freedom Drive
Charlotte, NC 28208

Time:  5:30 P.M. - 7:30 p.m.

Other Resources Family Caregiver Alliance

  • Family Care Navigator  a comprehensive online guide intended to help families in all 50 states and the District of Columbia locate government, nonprofit and private caregiver support programs. Lists programs for family caregivers as well as resources for older or disabled adults living at home or in a residential facility. 
  • Hope Cancer Ministries  704-364-1440
  • Alzheimer's Association for dementia specific groups -  980-498-7760
  • Hospice Bereavement Support Groups
    • Hospice and Palliative Care, Charlotte Region 704-375-0100 
    • Presbyterian Hospice and Palliative Care 704-384-6478
  • Friendly Visitor Program, Love Inc. 704-536-5588

Two quick hints:
1.  Have a job jar and when the well-intentioned friend or family member says, "Let me know what I can do to help." Have the suggestions ready!

2.  Tell the family - "The doctor wants Mom to have X,Y, and Z. I can do Y and Z. Who can do X?

If you don't know call Just1Call at 704-432-1111.


Transportation, Food and Finances Are Real Problems


Being a caregiver can exhaust not only physical and mental resources but financial reserves as well.

Check out the availability of some of these resources:

Elderly General Transportation
Congregate meals/Home delivered meals
Food Pantries
Contact Just1Call 704-432-1111

Volunteer Transportation Services - Centralina Area Agency on Aging  844-887-7433

Friendship Trays 704-333-9229

Crisis Assistance Ministry 704-371-3000
Food Stamps - 704-336-3000
Medicare - including Medicare Part D - 800-633-4227
Medicaid - 704-336-3000

Veterans Benefits - 704-563-2037

If you need assistance accessing these services, call the following numbers for more information and referrals:

Just1Call 704-432-1111 or 877-889-0323

Department of Social Services Customer Connections 


United Way 2-1-1 or 866-744-7778

Tips for getting the information you need:

  • Be specific and to the point
  • Be prepared with all the information you may need in front of you
  • Leave a clear message if necessary
  • Get the name of the person you speak with
  • Be prepared for some delays - the system may work slowly
  • Plan ahead when possible
  • Try to call early in the morning; avoid Mondays and Fridays, if possible.


I Just Need A Break!

Res-pite (rés¡ pit) a break, relief, breathing space.

Caregivers need time for themselves and breaks are a necessity to maintain good physical and emotional health.
Possible sources for respite - Experiment till you find the right fit!

  • Family Members
  • Faith community care-teams
  • Parkinson Association 704-248-3722
  • Adopt-An-Elder 704-536-5588 
  • Adult Day Care Centers
    • Adult Care & Share Center       
      6709 Idlewild Road       
      Charlotte, NC 28212       
    • Blessed Assurance Adult Day and Health Care Services       
      13001 Idlewild Rd.           
      Matthews, NC 28105       
    • Gracious Living Adult Day and Health Care Center, Corporation

17220 Norcross Drive, Suite 120
Huntersville, NC 28078

  • Loving Touch Adult Day/Health Care Center, Inc.
    1302 Beatties Ford Road
    Charlotte, NC 28216
    • Mount Olive Adult Day Care Home       
      10016 Garthwood Road       
      Charlotte, NC   28273       


    • PACE of the Southern Piedmont        
      6133 The Plaza
      Charlotte, NC   28215       
    • Rae's Playze

           6800 Democracy Drive
           Charlotte, NC 28212

    • The Ivey
      6030 Park South Drive
      Charlotte, NC 28210

    • University Adult Care, Inc.       
      1324 John Kirk Drive       
      Charlotte, NC   28262       
  • Assisted living or nursing home facility short term
  • In Home Services (look in the yellow pages under Home Health Services)
  • Black Mountain Center - Alzheimer's Respite Program 828-259-6700
  • Multiple Sclerosis 704-525-2955

Family Caregiver Support Program may be able to assist with respite 704-432-1111.

For working caregivers check with your employer to see what benefits might be available.

If your care-recipient has Medicaid you may want to explore Personal Care Services, or the Community Alternative Program 704-336-4674.

Quick Tips

For a mini break, try this relaxation technique. . .

Do some deep breathing: 

    • Breathe in through your nose to the count of four
    • Hold your breath for four counts
    • Blow out slowly through your mouth
    • Repeat several times.


 What Can I Do About Important Legal Issues?


One of the best things to do to avoid a crisis is to Plan Ahead!

  • What is the plan if you get sick or are injured in an accident?

  • What are your care-recipient's wishes for end of life care ?  (examples:  tube-feeding, ventilation, Do Not Resuscitate)

When you or your loved one can no longer make decisions - who can and who will make those decisions?

Issues to consider:

  • Living Wills*
  • Durable Powers of Attorney*
  • Guardianship
  • Health Care Power of Attorney*

Consult with an Estate and Elder Law Attorney.

Consult Legal Services for the Elderly 704-334-0400

Legal Services of Southern Piedmont 704-376-1600

Access free forms for advance directives at website

* Remember documents are not official until they have been notarized.

Keeping a caregiver notebook:

As tedious as this may sound to some people, it can be a blessing when needed. Good record keeping can document tax deductions for dependent care, explain financial costs to siblings, and be a guidebook for substitute caregivers. We suggest the following be kept in your caregiver notebook:

  • A copy of the Durable Power of Attorney and any medical advance directives.
  • Insurance information regarding Medicare, Medicaid, supplemental insurance and any long-term care insurance.
  • Names, telephone numbers and addresses of friends and clergy of your loved one.
  • Emergency contact information.
  • Contact information for health care including doctor names, specialty, and telephone numbers: information (i.e. patient advisory handouts) and hospital preference or limitations. Include any home health agency you regularly work with or prefer.
  • A schedule of a typical day. This will help any respite friend or worker follow and know what to expect. Include information on topics such as naps, mealtimes and TV or radio programs.
  • Dietary information including favorite foods and dislikes as well as any allergies.
  • Description of problem behaviors such as wandering, agitation, locking him or herself in the bathroom.
  • If your loved one has some dementia and asks repeated questions, make a list of the correct answers for any homecare worker or friends to follow.


How Will I Know If It's Time for Long Term Care?


Long Term Care (LTC) describes residence in one of the following: 

  • Family Care Home
  • Assisted Living Facility
  • Nursing Home

Residents receive supervision/assistance 24 hours each day. You continue to be a caregiver and advocate, but the care is a shared responsibility.

For information about facilities, contact the Ombudsman program 704-372-2416

Placement assistance is available at the Department of Social Services 704-432-1111.

There is a range of care from independent living to nursing home residency with many care possibilities in between. Caregivers need to be realistic about how much care their loved one needs. Talking honestly with the doctor is very important.  

Note the tell-tale signs that indicate the need for a change.

The loved one may need more care than you are able to provide.

  • How often is care needed?
  • What type of care is needed - non-medical, skilled nursing or Hospice?
  • Are the financial needs a burden?

The Caregiver may have reached her/his limits.

Are you:

    • Snapping at the loved one over little things
    • Being constantly irritated
    • Seldom laughing anymore
    • Feeling constantly tired or pressured
    • Losing sleep, sleeping too much, sleeping restlessly
    • Yelling or screaming, having crying jags or rages
    • Withholding affection
    • Withholding  assistance to the care recipient
    • Blaming the care recipient for being in this situation
    • Refusing to go out anymore
    • Withholding expenditures for goods, services or loved one's needs because he/she is going to die soon and it is wasted money?
      (Adapted from, 2002)

Be honest with yourself!


Local Training Is Available


Learning more about your job as a caregiver can give you more confidence in your role and more success.

The caregiver specialist "Have Training - Will Travel" will come to your church, synagogue, club, or support group to discuss caregiving issues.  Trainings and caregiver celebrations are offered throughout the year.  Contact Just1Call at 704-432-1111 with your questions or to indicate your interest in being notified about any of these events or the two trainings below.

Two (2) specific training programs are available:

Powerful Tools for Caregivers
Learn to reduce stress, improve self-confidence, better communicate your feelings, balance your life, increase your ability to make tough decisions and locate helpful resources.  This is a series of six (6) classes taught by two trained leaders.  Classes will take place throughout the community.

There is wonderful information on the internet that you can use to educate yourself.  We highly recommend the following sites:

NC Division of Aging and Adult Services 

National Family Caregiver's Association


Other community training available:

Central Piedmont Community College 704-330-2722

Centralina Area Agency on Aging - regional events and training - 704-372-2416

Hospice and Palliative Care, Charlotte Region 704-375-0100

Red Cross Caregiving Training - 704-376-1661

Western Carolina Chapter Alzheimer's Association- 980-498-7760


Watch shows Caregiving 101 online 

What's Wrong With My Loved One?


The more you know about the care-recipient's illness the better prepared you'll be to deal with behaviors and needs. You'll have some idea about what to expect.

A good evaluation by the doctor is essential for making a care plan.  The doctor will need input from the caregiver about their observations and concerns.

Here are some possible resources about common illnesses:

Carolinas CARE Partnership 704-531-2467

ALS Association 1-800-782-4747

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias
Western Carolina Chapter Alzheimer's Association
Help line    980-498-7760 or in North Carolina
Duke Family Support Program 1-800-646-2028


American Cancer Association

American Diabetes Association

Heart Attack
American Heart Association


Multiple Sclerosis
National 1-800-344-4867 

Muscular Dystrophy

Parkinson's Disease

Speech and Hearing Disabilities
Charlotte Regional Resource Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing 704-568-8558 or 800-835-5302
Relay operator 7-1-1 or 800-835-5306

National Stroke Association 1-800-787-6537

Terminal Illness
Hospice and Palliative Care Charlotte Region  704-375-0100
Presbyterian Hospice and Palliative Care 704-384-6478

Visual Disabilities
Metrolina Association for the Blind 704-372-3870 or  
NC Division of Services for the Blind 704-563-4168 or

The Caregiver information was produced by the Status of Seniors Initiative Caregivers Work Group and is courtesy of the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services Family Caregiver Support Program. For information or to obtain copies of this document, call Just1Call at 704-432-1111.


Hours: Mon-Fri  8 a.m. - 5 p.m.