Resources available for family caregivers during pandemic

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HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The Pennsylvania Departments of Aging and Human Services are reminding those that serve as caregivers about the resources available to them as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the commonwealth.

“Family caregiving has many faces in Pennsylvania. They are adults taking care of aging parents or other relatives, grandparents raising grandchildren, or a non-relative caregiver, such as a close family friend, raising a child whose parents cannot care for them,” Secretary of Aging Robert Torres said in a statement. “No matter whom they are caring for, all caregivers may need some type of support, whether it’s emotional, financial or legal. With the COVID-19 emergency, the need for such assistance may even be greater.”

Resources available through the Pennsylvania Department of Aging include the Caregiver Support Program which provides financial help to caregivers such as the reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs. The program also offers education and training for those qualified.

The newly launched KinConnector aims at supporting families by helping children and their caregivers. The hotline can be reached by calling 1-866-KIN-2111 (1-866-546-2111) and is available in English and Spanish.

“We know that this year has been a tough time for many, and it is okay to feel stressed or anxious. But whether you are a grandparent caring for your grandchildren, someone who lost their job due to the pandemic, or someone who just needs extra assistance to make ends meet, know that you do not have to go through this time alone,” DHS Secretary Teresa Miller said in a statement. “DHS offers many resources to help you through these hard times, and nobody should feel like they should have to go without food or health insurance because they are struggling. I encourage all Pennsylvanians who may need help to reach out – we are here for you.”

Free counseling is available through the statewide Support & Referral Helpline at 1-855-284-2494. Other programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can be assessed at www.compass.state.pa.us. Paper applications are also available.

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