At 87, Miriam B (not her real name), started having an increasingly difficult time taking care of herself. To make matters worse, the pandemic has further prevented the Jewish woman from social interactions and seeing her family. Passion to Care, a Jewish-owned homecare services agency in Sandy Springs, helped her through the approval process of a program for her granddaughter to get paid to care for Grandma.
Passion to Care is a licensed homecare provider that offers a program called Structured Family Caregiver, a state-run program in Georgia that allows a family member to become a paid caregiver when an elderly family member needs assistance. For those who qualify, this is particularly valuable during COVID, when family members may not want a caregiver they don’t know in their home. The weekly tax-free stipend available for those eligible for this Medicaid waiver also helps with any job loss or additional expenses the families encounter due to COVID.
“What often happens is many people are thrown into the caregiver role, and they have no idea what to do, how to take care of the family member, and have no idea what resources are available to them,” said co-founder Bez Avtzon. “This is particularly scary during COVID. People need guidance, funding and training, and that is what this program aims to do.”
Although the program has been around since October 2019, it has surged in popularity since COVID, he said. The program is not free for everyone, and there is an approval process.
Additionally, the program provides guidance and training for people inexperienced in caregiving. Those accepted into the program get ongoing support from a professional care coach.
“The goal is to make sure that the family knows they have resources available to them, and that they are not alone in this difficult time,” Avtzon said.
The program follows a trend across many U.S. states recognizing the value of having a family member as a private caregiver as opposed to a stranger, he said. Other states that have similar programs in place include New York, Indiana and Pennsylvania, among others.
“What has really struck me about the program, after speaking to many families, is that so many people are just unaware of all the programs available to them,”
Avtzon said. “COVID has impacted people in so many ways. I am happy we have the ability to help bring some hope to people during this crazy time.”
Avtzon added that program representatives can help with the process, speaking with anybody who is interested and wants to see if they would qualify.
“We know that not everybody who applies can enter the program. But we are happy to walk them through the process, and to be an initial resource for people who want to better understand the program.”
For more information, www.paidfamilycare.com.