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  • Writer's pictureJane Callahan

Helpful resources for end-of-life-care in Durham, NC

One of the biggest things I've learned in my advocacy for end-of-life doula work in Durham is how few people know we exist. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "I wish I had known about end-of-life doulas when my (person) was dying!"

But beyond doulas, there are many resources in the Triangle area that provide assistance to those at the end of their lives--and their loved ones. These are just some of the organizations offering services that can help. Not included here are resources for transportation, housing, legal aid, and more. Please reach out to us for further resource referrals, which include funeral services, grief resources for children, in-home care providers, and centers for aging, among other helpful lists.

Grief support groups.

Finding a therapist who is taking new patients and accepts your insurance is a challenge for anyone, but particularly for those in the depths of grief. Support groups are a free or much cheaper way to get support, and speaking with others who are on a similar journey can make a difference.

  • Here is a short list of current grief support groups in Durham.

  • Growing Through Grief meets every Tuesday.

  • The directory on Psychology Today has many grief group therapy and support meetings, many of which are for specific groups (grieving a spouse, pregnancy loss, etc.) These groups often involve a small fee (~$15) as they are facilitated by licensed professionals.

Caregiver resources.

Caregiver burnout can be damaging physically and psychologically, and I see it often. Some caregivers tend to think that if they put themselves last they are showing the dying person how much they are loved. But without help and self-care, we are setting ourselves up for a precarious situation. Caregivers can only be good care takers if they are preserving themselves!

  • The NC Division of Aging and Adult Services oversees the National Family Caregiver Support Program in collaboration with regional Area Agencies on Aging, county Departments of Social Services, and local provider agencies. This program aims to furnish caregivers with information on available services, help them access these services, offer counseling, support groups, and training, provide respite care, and deliver supplementary services. The specific services offered may differ from one county to another.

Alzheimers and dementia help.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer's or any form of dementia is one of the biggest tests of our time--emotionally, legally, and financially. As more people experience this, an increasing number of organizations are popping up to offer guidance and help.

  • The mission of the Dementia Alliance of North Carolina is to enhance the well-being of individuals with dementia, along with their caregivers and families, by facilitating access to support programs, education, and research initiatives.  1-800-228-8738.

  • Project CARE (Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty) is a coordinated delivery system that responds to the needs, values and preferences of individuals who directly care for a family member or friend with Alzheimer's disease or related dementia (ADRD).

Veteran resources.

If you are a veteran or caring for a veteran, take advantage of the programs tailored for you. These organizations can also refer you to further resources.

  • The Veterans Administration (VA) provides various services and resources to assist caregivers of veterans. Among its primary initiatives is the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC), designed to furnish eligible caregivers of veterans with resources, education, support, a financial stipend, health insurance, and beneficiary travel. In North Carolina, individuals can access the VA through two main entry points: the W.G. Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury and the Durham VA Medical Center. 855-260-3274.

  • No Veteran Dies Alone is designed to honor Veterans and to meet the needs of those Veterans who, for whatever reason, find themselves alone. This program employs thoroughly trained volunteers who will be at the bedside in times of need.

  • Carolina Caring for Veterans can help you access care for veterans, from educational resources for caregivers to volunteer services and assistance. (828) 466-0466, INFO@CAROLINACARING.ORG

Medical and other care support.

Whether it's addressing the hurdles of care for low-income residents or offering tips on medical issues, these county, state, and nonprofit groups can help.

  • Vials of Life, Durham County makes important information readily available to emergency responders in the event of a medical emergency during which a patient is unable to communicate. It contains information that helps paramedics determine if a patient is on medications or has medical conditions if they enter a home and there is no one to answer vital questions on behalf of the patient. This information is vital in an emergency and not always available. There is also information concerning an individual's physician., 919-560-8285

  • NC 211 can help with a long list of resource referrals, including the Caregiver Outreach Program, connection with the NC Funeral Consumers Alliance, and crisis services.

  • Those struggling with the financial commitments of end-of-life care can contact NCOA Benefits CheckUp, which will connects older adults with disabilities with benefit programs that can help pay for food, medicine, health care, utilities and more.

  • NC MedAssist, as a nonprofit pharmacy, supplies prescription medications to North Carolinians lacking insurance coverage and with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Additionally, it offers no-cost over-the-counter medications to individuals in need through its Mobile Free Pharmacy. 866-331-1348.

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