California Elder Caregiver Resource Centers

The majority of people who serve as caregivers for older people in California and across the country are family members who are undertaking this role for no pay. More often than not, these caregivers are spouses or adult children. 

Serving as a caretaker is a challenging obligation. There are a variety of supportive caretaker resources available to people assisting with the daily needs of an older individual in California. Through this article, we present information on these essential resources offered by what are known as Regional Caregiver Resource Centers. 

What Are Regional Caregiver Resource Centers?

Caretakers have challenging responsibilities. This particularly can be the case when a caretaker is assisting with the needs of an elderly individual. Providing caretaker assistance for a loved one with a cognitive disorder or other disabling condition can forever change the life of a caregiver. Indeed, providing this type of care can alter the lives of other family members as well.  

There can be devastating effects on those providing long-term care in some instances. These can include:

  • Financial pressures
  • Legal issues
  • Health problems
  • Emotional turmoil

California has established Regional Caretaker Resource Centers across the state. Regional Caretaker Resource Centers assist thousands of caregivers and families in California. All residents of the state have access to the services and resources offered by Regional Caretaker Resource Centers.

Services Available From Regional Caregiver Resource Centers

California Regional Caregiver Resource Centers provide a variety of core services. These core services are provided at a low or no cost to caretakers and their families. These core services include:

  • Specialized Information and Referral: This resource assists in providing referrals and advice related to caregiver stress, different diagnoses, and community resources of different types.
  • Family Consultation and Care Planning: Trained staff consultations are provided to assess the specific or unique needs of persons with cognitive impairment and their families. This resource is designed to explore care options. This resource also exists to assist in the development of a course of action in response to a particular situation.
  • Respite Care: Through a resource center, a caregiver can obtain financial assistance for temporary in-home support, adult day care services, short-term or weekend care, and transportation. This financial assistance to aid in accessing this assistance permits a primary caretaker the ability for some time off. A respite from day to day caregiving duties is invaluable for a caregiver. 
  • Short-Term Counseling: Resource centers aid caregivers and other family members in accessing individual, family, and group therapeutic sessions with licensed counselors. This is designed to offer emotional and related support to caregivers.
  • Support Groups: Online or in-person meetings to share experiences and ideas to ease the stress of caregiving. Support groups are proving highly helpful to caretakers. 
  • Professional Training: California Caregiver Resource Centers offer workshops on long-term care, patient management, public policy, legal and financial issues for health and service providers. This includes people who are assisting as caregivers for family members, including adult children who are caretakers for elderly parents. 
  • Legal and Financial Consultation: Experienced attorneys consult on Powers of Attorney, Advance Directives, estate and financial planning, conservatorships and other matters. This can be invaluable assistance for caretakers, their families, and others involved in the life of an elderly individual in need of assistance with activities of daily living and related matters.
  • Education: Finally, resources centers conduct special workshops on topics such as cognitive disorders, dealing with dementia, long-term care planning, and stress management to help caregivers cope with day-to-day concerns. These educational opportunities are available on a regular and recurring basis throughout the course of a given year. 

History of Regional Caregiver Resource Centers

California Regional Caregiver Resource Centers were founded in 1984. California Caregiver Resource Centers are a network of 11 centers situated throughout California. They were created to serve family caregivers who are providing support for someone affected by chronic and debilitating health conditions that include:

  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cerebrovascular diseases (like strokes)
  • Degenerative diseases (like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and multiple sclerosis)
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Other conditions

According to the state of California, the groundwork for the Regional Caregiver Resource Centers system began as a grassroots effort in San Francisco in 1976. It was the culmination of one community’s determination to respond to a major health care and social need. In San Francisco, a small group of families who were caring for loved ones with debilitating brain-impairing illnesses formed a task force and held a town hall meeting in a church basement in San Francisco.

Additional Resources for California Caregivers

There are a number of other helpful resources available to California caregivers. These include:

  • FCA Web Resource Guide:  A comprehensive directory for all aspects of caregiving, medical information, foundations, and support groups.
  • Administration on Aging National Family Caregiver Support Web: Resources for elders, caregivers, professionals and providers.
  • National Respite Locator Service: Helps parents, caregivers, and professionals find respite services in their state and local area to match their specific needs.