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Rural Caregiver

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Rural Caregiving
By Liza Berger, Staff Writer

(Page 6 of 7)

Indeed, social, behavioral, and attitudinal norms in rural communities may prevent people who need care from receiving it. Many caregivers in remote areas feel they should be self-reliant. There is a sense of individual responsibility involved in caring for a sick loved one—even if it may prove to be too overwhelming.

This reluctance to seek help as well as a lack of community resources, outlets and support in rural communities may compound the problem of isolation—a universal issue for caregivers.

“Some stories about rural caregivers are very sad in terms of a caregiver, usually the spouse of the person with   Alzheimer’s, who’s alone and feels that he or she can’t leave the person at all and that there are no options,” Maslow noted.

It can be dangerous anywhere in the country to have a person with Alzheimer’s living at home. Wandering is a common symptom among those with the disease. But the presence of guns in many rural homes is especially worrisome in cases of people with Alzheimer’s who may be living there, according to Maslow.

Federal Assistance

As many challenges as there are in caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s in a rural community, state and federal resources are available. The Alzheimer’s Association, in partnership with the Administration on Aging (AoA), has a helpline that provides round-the-clock information and referral sources. Such indirect services, rather than direct in-home services provided by paid direct care workers, are often the only support available to family caregivers.

Meanwhile, the AoA’s Alzheimer’s Disease Supportive Services Program helps caregivers around the country. It provides competitive awards to states to expand the availability of community-level supportive services for people with Alzheimer’s and related disorders and their caregivers. The Public Health Service Act created ADSSP in 1992.

There are several ADSSP programs that directly affect rural caregivers, explained Shannon Skowronski, a health policy analyst with the Alzheimer’s Disease Supportive Services Program National Resource Center.


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