Living with and taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia can be exhausting, according to the Lower Savannah Council of Governments, but there is help available in the community.

The Family Caregiver Support Program at the Council’s Aging, Disability and Transportation Resource Center can provide caregivers with answers to questions about resources and even grants to help caregivers have a break from their duties.

There are two types of grants for respite. Both are available to qualifying caregivers one time a year and are for amounts of up to $500. State funds that were formerly available through the Alzheimer’s Association now are being distributed through the Family Caregiver Support Program.

The application for these grants is simple, according to Cathie Lindler, a support program staff member. She also said that caregivers can select a “sitter” from any licensed agency providing respite services. The short application includes one page that is completed by the family physician, and the application is returned to Lindler. Approval is usually given within a week.

Caregivers can choose to use the respite grants for services over a period of time or for a chance to go on a family vacation or attend a special event such as a class reunion or wedding.

The Family Caregiver Support Program also offers educational, information and referral services for family caregivers as well as a free, monthly newsletter filled with caregiving tips and other useful information. It is available in Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties through the Lower Savannah Aging, Disability and Transportation Resource Center. Services also are available for caregivers of people who do not have dementia and for grandparents raising grandchildren.

For more information or to contact Lindler, call 803-508-7033 in Aiken (or use the toll-free number, 1-866-845-1550) and then press 3. Information also can be found online at