Survey Aims to Better Understand Unmet Needs of IN Caregivers
Thursday, September 9, 2021
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana officials are conducting a survey to better understand the unmet needs of caregivers across the state, which they say will also help more Hoosiers age at home.
Darcy Tower, director of consumer success, strategy and operations for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Division of Aging, said the COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted long-standing gaps in the care system, such as national shortages of care workers and high turnover.
She pointed out caregivers have faced unique challenges and stressors, from fear of exposing loved ones to the virus to dealing with the effects of social isolation.
"Most Hoosiers, they want to age at home," Tower reported. "And Indiana is working to give more people over age 60 on Medicaid this choice by really making long-term services and supports more effective and better coordinated."
Tower added long-term services and supports include in-home personal care, adult day centers, support for caregivers, assisted living and nursing-home care. She noted they promote the health and well-being of people who need assistance with day-to-day activities because of their long-term condition, disability or cognitive impairment.
Tower emphasized the Division of Aging has waiver services that allow Medicaid to pay caregivers, but she contended they need to expand the program to support needs that may not be financial, including education and training, or respite services.
"So many of these folks live under the assumption that caregiving is just really something that you do for the people who are important to us," Tower observed. "Of course, that is incredibly commendable. These are also people who need support."
Tower hopes the survey will help Indiana better meet those needs. She stressed if you are a family member, friend, neighbor or community volunteer providing care, companionship, transportation or financial or medical help to somebody 55 or older without the expectation of pay, her agency wants to hear from you, either at 800-258-7691 or at survey.indiana.edu/caregiver/volunteer.
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