In Support of Family Caregivers

Resilience and a sense of purpose are common among caregivers, despite the ups and downs of the journey. Whether we realize it or not, many of us are (or will become) family caregivers. All the more reason to take note that more than a third of family caregivers rate their job as highly stressful emotionally, and nearly one in five reports a high level of physical strain, according to a 2020 AARP report. When consulting with caregivers through USC VHH’s Community Resource Center for Aging (CRCA), we explore the variety of services and supports that might be the right fit for each unique situation. The goal is to see each caregiver create a strategy to ensure that they have some important “down time,” or respite, from this important role. As the latest wave of COVID restrictions relax, we can help people move forward with planning respite options.

Some callers to CRCA have family, friends and even neighbors who would like to help if asked. Others belong to supportive faith-based organizations that may have counsel and supportive options. Many turn to bringing in a paid helper to assist with their caregiving routine. Options outside of the home are also possible, such as day programs for the care receiver to attend. Some of these options can be supported by Medi-Cal insurance for those eligible, while others arrange to directly pay a daily or hourly rate for the services rendered.

With increased awareness of the need, CRCA is collaborating with the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA and Alzheimer’s Los Angeles with support from Home Instead of Pasadena to launch “Caregiver’s Night Off,” a new and free program beginning on March 3. This monthly, two-hour respite is offered at the YMCA in La Cañada and is designed to create enjoyable, safe and separate activities for both caregivers and the people with mild to moderate dementia that they are caring for. The goal is to have some fun and relaxation while connecting with others that understand the family caregiving journey while those needing caregiving are safely engaged in separate activities with specially trained staff and volunteers.

To register for Caregiver’s Night Off or to connect on any aging-related issues, call (818) 949-4033 or email Aging-Resources@med.usc.edu.