Is Your City Caregiving-Friendly?
When we think about what an efficient and inclusive community means, we must consider all of the different types of people living within a specific area and how infrastructure and resources can best accommodate as many individuals as possible. Ensuring that a city is age-friendly covers one end of the spectrum. This includes wide and even sidewalks for strollers, walkers and wheelchairs; clean, safe parks and gathering spaces; and secure, reliable transportation options.
But what does caregiving-friendly mean? This can mean anything from activities led by social services professionals, including things like: music, art, crafts, and dance; as well as environments like memory cafes for those living with Alzheimer’s / dementia and even support or resource spaces designed specifically for caregivers.
Here are some other ways to identify if your city is caregiving-friendly; or if it’s not, some helpful ideas that you can help to implement within your community:
Caregiver Support Spaces: Caregiving can often be a very lonely and isolating journey. Having community support groups and resources can reduce the risk of depression, anxiety and other conditions often associated with caregiving. Providing caregivers with a space to connect with one another, swap strategies and simply attempt to decompress is an easy way to make your community more caregiver-friendly.
Memory Cafe: A memory cafe offers a space for those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia to meet on a weekly or monthly basis. In addition to seniors, it also provides an opportunity for caregivers to chat over coffee, to chat with peers and to temporarily relax.
Age-Friendly Business Designation: In some cities, stores and restaurants display an age-friendly business designation in their windows. This clearly helps caregivers to identify retail and industry locations that favor the older adult and disabled populations more readily, and indicates that the business has its doors wide open to the 50+ demographic.
Caregiver Education Classes: There are a lot of caregiving factors that we may feel expected to know when we are removed from certain situations; i.e. leaving a hospital stay or a doctor’s appointment with a loved one. The information we may feel obligated to understand consists of elements like medication information, protocol for follow up care, and performing more complex medical procedures at-home. Here is where community caregiver education classes come in; having direct access to industry professionals who can clearly teach us how to accomplish specific caregiving tasks is critical to the safety of both caregivers and loved ones alike.
Transportation Options: Alternative forms of transportation like ride-sharing and shuttle services can make a caregiver’s life that much easier. Being responsible for transporting a loved one to and from appointments, to do errands or to visit with friends can be taxing. No, not taxi’ing… just taxing. Plus, providing infrastructure that enables caregivers to minimize stressors can make daily life a little less hectic.
What are some ways that your community has become more age-friendly or caregiver-friendly? Are there enough resources and supports available within close proximity to you or are you struggling to find what you need so that you and your loved one can both thrive?
CareZare is a FREE app for family caregivers to help them manage their care team and ensure the highest level of care for their loved one.