The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced this week a new phone helpline service for family caregivers in North Carolina caring for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
The service is called “Caregiver Navigator” and the helpline will be a universal “first port of call” for caregivers with unmet needs. Caregivers, professionals and the general public can call Caregiver Navigator at 844-728-0191 toll-free from anywhere in the state to get answers to their questions. There’s no charge for the services provided through the program. In a press release from the NCDHHS, health officials listed the types of questions that can be answered.
The questions used are from examples found in real life.
“I’ve been caring for my husband who has dementia for six years and don’t know how much longer I can continue given my own personal health issues. What are our options?”
“I need a break, but I can’t afford a private nurse for mom. Are there alternatives?”
“What’s the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and where can I find out more?”
“I’ve been all alone at home with dad for six months. Is there anyone I can talk to?”
“My aunt often gets lost in our own neighborhood. What can I do?”
According to state officials, at the start of 2019, the Alzheimer’s Association projected that 479,000 family caregivers in the state would care for people with dementia. They also estimated that that would require 545 million hours of unpaid care. In 2020, many of those same caregivers had the added burden of “dealing with the risk of COVID-19 as well as the social distancing and loneliness that came with it.”
The new Caregiver Navigator can link state caregivers in a bind with a network of helpful resources. Those include caregiver and dementia education and access to support groups and other resources.
The Navigator works closely with the six regional Project Care offices and the Family Caregiver Support Program, administered through 16 Area Agencies on Aging – together forming a network of resources offered by the NCDHHS Division of Aging and Adult Services in support of family caregivers across the state. Funding for the service is provided by the ADRC/No Wrong Door System Funding Opportunity – Critical Relief Funds for COVID-19 Pandemic Response.
For more information about the Caregiver Navigator, anyone interested can call 844-728-0191 or email DHHS.firstname.lastname@example.org.