If you’re based in New York City, you have access to a wide variety of support groups. Caregiver support takes many forms, such as counseling, respite care, and basic medical training. It can also include legal aid, transportation assistance, and even translation services. Taking care of seniors daily or even only a few days a week can be draining on your mental health. We know that you want to help seniors in your community thrive in their daily lives. Sometimes being a home health aide for a family member in NYC can take a toll on you if you aren’t taking care of yourself as much as you are taking care of them. It’s okay for you to take some much-needed time for yourself or seek any kind of help from a support group. Here is a selection of the best support groups and programs for caregivers in New York City.
The website NYC Caregiver connects family caregivers in New York City with resources provided by the National Family Caregiver Support Program. You’ll find a wealth of information on the site as well as local resource centers in each of the five boroughs. So, wherever you are from in the city, you can find the support you may need after a week of helping elderly people in your community.
The New York State Caregiving and Respite Coalition is a partnership of dedicated organizations and individuals that connect caregivers with the information, training, and support services necessary for caring for a loved one at home. If you need to learn more about your position as a caregiver and want to learn more ways you can successfully help the seniors you care for better, this is a great resource.
Special Touch Homecare Services is a leading provider of professional home health aide services in New York City. Special Touch also offers CDPAP, a state program that enables patients to designate a friend or family member to be their caregiver and access Medicaid funding to pay for their time.
SNAP, or Services Now for Adult Persons, offers a caregivers program featuring support groups, individual counseling, and educational workshops. If you have gotten more caught up in being a home health aide for a family member in NYC rather than focusing on yourself at times, counseling and support groups can help you exponentially. They can allow you to talk about your feelings and help you figure out how you can take care of yourself as well.
Willing Hearts, Helpful Hands organizes a respite program with trained volunteers serving caregivers in Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties. It’s a community service program of the Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation.
Caregivers Speak Up is an informal Meetup group where caregivers are invited to share their experiences, listen to other caregivers, and offer support to their peers.
Groups for Caregivers of Senior Citizens
The New York Elder Caregiver Support Program oversees support services for family caregivers through the New York State Office for the Aging. You can find contact information for your local office here. As a home health aide for a family member in NYC, you may be more focused on the senior citizen you are taking care of, but you should seek support services to allow yourself time to get the support you give others on a daily basis.
The Heights and Hills caregiver program in Brooklyn focuses on family members, friends, or neighbors who provide older adults with unpaid assistance, including emotional support, shopping, cooking, bathing, and bill paying.
The staff at Presbyterian Senior Services provides guidance as well a range of caregiver services. Presbyterian Senior Services has locations in all five boroughs and offers help in both English and Spanish.
SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) is the world’s oldest and largest organization devoted to meeting the needs of elders in gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) communities. The organization’s New York chapter offers caregiver training, support groups, and additional supplemental services.
Groups for Alzheimer’s and Dementia
The Alzheimer’s and Caregiver Resource Center of the New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA) provides free counseling and assistance to New Yorkers caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
NYU Langone’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Family Support Program offers services for families who are caring for those who have trouble with thinking and memory.
CaringKind, formerly known as the Alzheimer’s Association, NYC Chapter, manages support groups led by trained facilitators. Support groups are such a great way to allow yourself to express your feelings in a safe space. As much as you may love getting to take care of senior citizens in your neighborhood, it may get really exhausting at times. In these support groups, there will be other caregivers just like you, so you won’t feel alone.
Groups for Autism Support
MOCHA is a Meetup group for parents with children with autism or related developmental disorders focusing on support as well as self-advocacy. The group hosts family-friendly play dates and “Mom’s night out” events, primarily in Queens.
The Bronx Parents Autism Support Circle offers a similar Meetup for those located in the Bronx.
Groups for Caregivers of Other Populations
Headquartered in New York City, CancerCare offers free community programs in offices in New York, Connecticut, Long Island, and New Jersey to help people manage the emotional, practical, and financial challenges of cancer.
SHARE Cancer Support is a national community of women affected by breast and ovarian cancers. With its headquarters in New York City, you’ll find support groups, educational programs, and advocacy help.
Family-to-Family is a free, 12-session class for family, significant others, and friends of people living with severe mental illness provided by the New York City Metro chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization.
VISIONS offers a support program for caregivers of people of all ages who are legally blind or severely visually impaired.
Hamilton-Madison House is the leading provider of services for New York City’s Asian community. Programs include behavioral health support, immigration help, and childcare.
Related Services and Tools
The following programs and services are not strictly for caregivers. However, they provide related assistance in several key areas. These programs can help the seniors you take care of as well as your own family and friends.
ACCESS NYC is a free service that can help caregivers determine if their loved ones qualify for more than 30 city, state, and federal benefit programs, including Medicaid, food stamps, and assistance with utility bills.
The English Masters Meetup gives non-native speakers a free opportunity to learn and practice conversational English, which can help caregivers whose first language is not English prepare for medical visits and understand insurance forms and similar documentation.
The Legal Aid Society of New York provides affordable legal help. A special elder law division through the Brooklyn Office for the Aging offers information on housing, healthcare, government benefits, disability benefits, and family law.
Lotsa Helping Hands enables caregivers to build a private group calendar where they can coordinate and manage additional help from family and friends. The site tracks each task and sends email reminders to the appropriate parties.
As a caregiver, you should take advantage of these great resources and seek the help you may need. You might not think you need counseling or need to join a support group, but it will surprise you how much they can actually help. If you don’t know which support groups you would like to join, look through all of these resources and see which one fits you the best.
Disclaimer: The list above represents a starting point for exploring support services in New York but does not constitute an endorsement of any of the groups or organizations listed. Each reader should independently research any group they wish to participate in and make an educated decision based on his or her specific needs.