Last week, Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly published a story about the growing needs surrounding the caregiver population. With the aging population increasing across the country, communities such as Fort Wayne, Indiana are recognizing that caregivers need support financially as well as professionally. Joyce Lane, a family caregiver in Caregiver Homes, and Jennifer Trowbridge, Indiana's State Director, were interviewed about the benefits Caregiver Homes has brought to the community.
"Joyce Lane, 61, is a caregiver in Columbia City. For her, these hours of respite are “a blessing.” Lane is a full-time, live-in caregiver for her 89-year-old aunt who has dementia. She took on the role about two years ago. The three-hour blocks of care provided twice a week provide a break from what’s an around-the-clock job. Caregiving has been a challenge, but Lane wants to honor her aunt’s wish to remain in her home.
“You just do it, and you don’t think anything about it because you love them and you just go with the flow,” she said.
A couple of programs are also available that allow eligible caregivers to get paid for the care they provide.
Caregiver Homes is one such agency that offers a structured family care model for caregivers. Eligible care recipients are those who would qualify for a skilled nursing facility level of care but want to receive care in their homes, said Jennifer Trowbridge, state director of Caregiver Homes. The agency provides caregivers with coaching and support, which includes a register nurse and social work designee called a care manager who make monthly visits. That program, which receives funding from the Medicaid waiver program, also provides financial assistance to caregivers, Trowbridge said.
“Indiana has recognized that in order for people to do this, many have to give up working full time or they have to go down to a part-time job and that financial piece has actually inhibited people from taking care of family,” she said.
Caregivers log in to a software application each day and answer questions about the care that they’ve provided. The nurse and care manager monitor these daily logs and Trowbridge said the model has helped reduce hospitalizations by addressing health issues before they become an emergency.
Caregiver Homes has been active in Indiana since 2013 and, in just four years, the number of consumers it serves has “snowballed” from 75 to more than 1,000, Trowbridge said."
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