County Providing Help For Family Caregivers

In response to the many demands and pressures facing family caregivers who are caring for loved ones with disabling health conditions, the Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging (LACAAA) is launching an outreach campaign to inform caregivers of available support services to assist caregivers with education and training, coping skills to relieve depression, and respite to relieve stress and deterioration of the caregivers’ own health status.

The term caregiver for this program refers to an adult (18 years of age or older) family member who provides assistance to someone else without pay who is, in some degree, incapacitated and needs help. We find in dedicated families that provide most of the care, the care can range from handling family members’ transportation to managing medications, feeding tubes and personal hygiene. Here are a few of the signs that indicate a caregiver may need support:

– Feeling completely overwhelmed

– Feeling he/she cannot leave his/her family member alone

– Trouble sleeping because of care of a family member

Grandparents, step-grandparents, or other older relatives (age 55 and older) identified as the primary caregiver of a young child are also eligible for this program and may receive support services provided by the LACAAA Family Caregiver Program.

The Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging has a support system of services in place for family caregivers; but many of the families in Los Angeles County are not aware of the program. We are launching the Family Caregiver Outreach Campaign to reach as many families as possible said Cynthia Banks, Director, Community and Senior Services/Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging.

The Family Caregiver Outreach Campaign is being conducted in partnership with community agencies currently contracted with the County to provide family caregivers services, such as:

– Respite (a break for the caregiver from the daily responsibilities of caregiving)

– Support Groups

– Counseling Services (ranging from guidance with the responsibilities of the caregiving role to therapy for stress and depression)

– Training (self-care skills to reduce stress)

– Information about available resources

– Assistance in gaining access to services

All services and programs are free or low-cost. For more information about the LACAAA Family Caregiver Program please call (800) 510-2020.