In a time where many families are struggling between COVID-19 and virtual learning because of school closures, United Way Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is stepping up to assist. A 71-year-old client of the Alabama Cares/ Older Relative Caregiver program is homebound with chronic arthritis and back pain. Even with her own health issues and having to use a walker and cane, she is the primary caregiver for her 11-year-old grandson.
After being referred by her insurance provider, the client initially called the Age Line to sign up for Meals on Wheels and inquire about utility assistance. She stated that running the air conditioner in her home during the summer had increased her bill to the point it was not manageable. Upon completing the initial screening, the client mentioned that she cares for her grandson, so our ADRC specialist was prompted to refer her to the Older Relative Caregiver program for additional resources.
United Way Area Agency on Aging was able to purchase clothing, shoes, underwear, socks, various school supplies for both individuals, and an HP laptop and printer for the child. These items will supplement the child’s care and ease some of the financial strain that the caregiver is experiencing on her limited income. According to AAA, many grandparents have expressed concern about assisting their grandchildren with remote learning. Having their own laptop and printer in the home allows them to feel more connected.
The caregiver was provided with information on other available resources, such as Habitat ReStore, to seek a gently used mattress for her grandson. In the future, United Way will continue to provide educational articles and materials to the client and invited the caregiver to a monthly virtual support group.
“Assisting older relative caregivers is the best part of my job. These clients are often sacrificing so much to give the children they are raising the best home possible. This client was truly grateful and appreciative and expressed that this program is a blessing to her”, said Valarie Lawson, Alabama Cares Coordinator.
Alabama Cares is open to those 55 or older in Jefferson County that live with and provide care for a child under the age of 18, as well as a child of any age who has a mental or developmental disability that results in a functional limitation of three or more major life activities. To sign up for services, call 1-800-AGE-LINE to speak to an ADRC Specialist, and complete an intake assessment.
Under the direction of the Alabama Department of Senior Services, the United Way Area Agency on Aging (UWAAA) of Jefferson County implements a wide range of programs and provides counseling and information about available resources to senior citizens, people with disabilities, and caregivers. Through a comprehensive and coordinated system, UWAAA is enhancing lives in meaningful ways – from providing hot, nutritious meals and monitoring long-term care facilities to training caregivers and helping individuals take full advantage of their Medicare benefits. For more information, visit www.uwaaa.org or call 1-800-AGE-LINE (1-800-243-5463).