Column: M4A supporting caregivers

Published 9:45 am Monday, August 14, 2023

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By Elisabeth Altamirano-Smith | Community Columnist

Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging was designated as an area agency on aging in 1989. M4A serves older individuals between Blount, Chilton, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties. M4A’s mission has grown to serve caregivers and people with disabilities, regardless of age, and to help older individuals’ access information, assistance and resources that will empower them.

The event scheduled for Sept. 1 will focus on providing caregivers with a moment of respite, as well as educational information. Some of the free information provided will include legal services such as how to set up advanced directives, caregiver support, training sessions and screening for supplemental supplies such as sanitary products and nutritional drinks.

“Many times, when people think of caregiving the focus goes to the patient, but with Alabama Cares, the caregiver is our client,” said coordinator Chalane Mims. “Being a caregiver can be isolating. It is easy to get up and do the same thing, over and over. You cannot leave. Caregivers tend to feel that they are going through the experience alone. This event is designed to support them and let them know there are others who feel the same way.”

M4A also offers a comprehensive screening for public benefits, assistance navigating Medicare or Medicaid, screening and enrolling in low-cost and free medication assistance and helps to prevent financial scams. Screening for these programs is accessible by calling 205-670-5770.

“There are two different caregiver support programs available,” said Mims. “One is the traditional caregiver support that most people think of when taking care of someone elderly. The other program is called ‘older relative caregiver,’ and it is when someone age 55 or older is providing care for a child age 18 or younger. Both of these fall under our program. Caregivers are encouraged to come for support and to see that they are not alone.”

Space is limited, and to pre-register or for more information contact Chalane Mims at 205-670-5770 or