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ArchCare Offers Answers for Family Caregivers

ArchCare, the Continuing Care Community of the Archdiocese of New York, provides nearly 6,000 aging and disabled people each day with the healthcare and other support they need to stay healthy and live safely.

Just a few years ago, nearly all lived in nursing homes. Today, ArchCare serves 70 percent of them at home or in the community, keeping them independent and close to the people they love for as long as possible.

With more seniors than ever living outside nursing homes, helping the spouses, children, siblings and others who care for them has become an increasingly important part of ArchCare’s mission.

To make the lives of these unsung heroes of healthcare a little easier, over the last two years ArchCare launched a free telephone care navigation service, established an online caregiver support system and introduced an innovative community service exchange program, all with the challenges faced by family caregivers in mind.

Care Navigation

The health and social services professionals at ArchCare’s Care Navigation Center have a singular mission – to help consumers better understand and access the social, health, community and other services they need for themselves or someone they care about. Answering questions like how to arrange home care, get help caring for someone with dementia, find a local caregiver support group, or access Medicare and Medicaid benefits, is just a start. The Care Navigators also guide callers seeking help with health-related legal and financial issues, housing, transportation and even food and nutrition.

Help from a Care Navigator is totally free and available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week by calling (855) 951-CARE.

ArchCare Care Diary

Accessible from ArchCare’s website at archcare.ecarediary.com, Care Diary is a free online support system designed to help family caregivers manage their loved one’s care while looking after their own lives as well.

The Care Diary toolkit includes an online calendar for coordinating medical and other appointments and tracking medications, as well as a journal in which to record doctors’ instructions, observations and other details.

Personalized contact “circles” make it easy to keep relatives and friends informed about the patient’s condition, and an online repository of articles, videos and other content from health and caregiving experts puts vital information right at caregivers’ fingertips.

Users can also join online conversations with a community of fellow caregivers to seek advice and share experiences with others who are coping with similar situations.

ArchCare TimeBank

After a taxi accident left her unable to leave her house unassisted, Clarita would lie awake at night asking God why she needed to live. The Bronx resident had always faced the stigma of being a little person, but the added physical challenges and her mother’s recent death left her lonely and depressed.

Then Clarita met Carmen through ArchCare’s TimeBank, a free service that connects people who need assistance with volunteers who have the time and energy to help. When Clarita needs to leave her house, Carmen helps her make her way to a nearby bus stop in her wheelchair. But she also provides Clarita with needed companionship.

“I’ll come over and help her decorate for Thanksgiving. For Christmas I’ll help her do the Christmas tree,” said Carmen. In return, Clarita tutors Carmen’s two daughters, renewing her sense of purpose in life.

“If it wouldn’t have been for ArchCare’s [TimeBank] program, I may have just given up,” Clarita said. “I feel like they are a part of my family and I am part of their family now. Without ArchCare, I would be very, very lonely.”

To learn more about ArchCare’s services, including its growing array of community resources and services for caregivers, go to www.archcare.org or call 855-951-CARE and speak to an ArchCare Care Navigator.

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