ASHLAND - Recognizing the role of caregiver can be overwhelming, the Older Adult Behavioral Health Coalition of Ashland County set out to help people plan and organize care for older adults.
Organized in 2006 with funding from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Older Adult Behavioral Health Coalition of Ashland County is a partnership of local organizations that meets monthly in an effort to unify, educate and collaborate among professionals who work with older adults and caregivers.
Coalition members include Appleseed Community Mental Health Center, Ashland County Council on Aging, Ashland County Department of Job and Family Services, brethren Care Village, Catholic Charities, Hospice of North Central Ohio, Kingston of Ashland, Mental Health and Recovery Board, Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging, S.A.L.T. Council, University Hospitals Samaritan Medical Center, Visisting Nurse Association of Mid-Ohio, Safe Haven and Pathways Hospice of Ashland.
The coalition put together a Caregiver Notebook filled with general caregiving information, lists of local resources, activity and appointment logs and legal forms designed to help caregivers plan and stay organized.
Download the Caregiver Notebook
"One of the ways that this is helpful is many times when families are caring for someone, there are multiple people coming in," Mental Health and Recovery Board Executive Director Steve Stone said. "This way everyone can use the same notebook to track, 'Did mom get her medication this morning? When's her next appointment?'"
The notebook contains advice for caregiver self-care, tips for recognizing mental health disorders in older adults and information about living wills and healthcare powers of attorney. It also offers space to record emergency contact information and medical information, log daily and weekly activities or doctor's appointments and keep track of bills and budgets.
The 106-page notebook is available as a free downloadable PDF on Mental Health and Recovery Board's website, allowing caregivers to print a copy, hole punch the pages and put them into a notebook. MHRB will also will print and assemble a notebook for families at no cost upon request.
For those who may not need the whole book, the coaltion also distilled the notebook into a 12-page Resource Guide featuring a directory of services for older adults and caregivers in and around Ashland.
Download the Resource Guide
In addition to the local Caregiver Notebook and Resource Guide, AARP offers a series of caregiver guides ranging from a list of five steps for first-time caregivers to tips for conflict resolution in families. Among the resources are guides specific to caring for loved ones with cancer or those with dementia.
Questions about local resources for older adults and caregivers in Ashland County can be directed to Ashland County Council on Aging by calling 419-281-1477.
The Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging can answer questions about resources in Ashland, Crawford, Huron, Knox, Marion, Morrow, Richland, Seneca and Wyandot counties. The agency can be reached at 419-524-4144.