VCRCWho are caregivers?

People often think caregivers are hired professionals, not family members. However, if you are helping a family member, you are a caregiver. Many times a family caregiver does not identify as a caregiver. They see themselves as a daughter helping mom, or a wife helping a spouse. Valley Caregiver Resource Center in Fresno is an organization that helps and support families who are caring for their loved one.

Who helps caregivers in Fresno?

Valley Caregiver Resource Center supports the caregiving family by providing needed services and education, linking families to resources in the community, and giving families the tools to navigate social and health care services. The majority of their clients are older adults but they also do serve younger caregivers caring for family members with an adult-onset brain disease or disorder. Most of these services are free, or low cost to the family caregiver in most counties where services are provided. Valley Caregivers serves nine counties including Fresno, Madera, and Tulare.

Which Families does Valley Caregiver Resource Center help?

The Caregiver Resource Program provides services for non-paid family caregivers, who are caregiving for a loved one age 60 or older who does not live in a care facility. These clients are family members who are taking care of someone over the age of 60, regardless of the diagnosis.  It could be an older adult who is frail, who needs light assistance, companion care, or it may be someone who needs hands on care, like medication management, assistance dressing and bathing, help around the house, or being driven to the doctor.

Another way for families to qualify for the program is if they are taking care of someone over the age of 18 who has been diagnosed with a brain or memory impairment. The memory impairment must be diagnosed after the age of 18. Memory loss can be stroke related, or due to a traumatic brain injury or tumor. Other causes of memory loss are dementia; the most common being Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

How Can a Family Get Help?

The first step in receiving services is an intake over the phone to determine if the caregiver qualifies for service. A follow up home visit is scheduled with a trained family consultant who conducts a needs assessment. This assessment determines if the family needs help with bathing, housework, respite care, or has other caregiver needs that can be helped. If requested, the appointment can also be scheduled at the Valley Caregiver’s office with the trained family consultant. As long as the family is caring for their loved one they are eligible to continue services.

What Services Does the Caregiver Resource Program Provide?

The Caregiver Resource Program provides many services. Family members are connected to a family consultant who answers questions, helps with care planning, and who facilitates family meetings around making care decisions if needed.

Families who need a short break from caregiving may qualify for respite. Respite is short term care provided to older adults while the family members are away. While the Caregiver Resource Program does not provide long term respite services, caregivers can qualify to receive periodic respite care when funding is available.  Caregivers are also linked to other community services.

The Caregiver Resource Program also provides six one hour counseling sessions for family members who experience sadness and grief dealing with their loved one’s caregiving needs. Families who need legal assistance can spend an hour with an elder law attorney to discuss powers of attorney, financial power of attorney, and advanced health care directives.

Family members also benefit from support groups. Support groups are a place to connect with other caregivers and share experiences. Caregivers learn helpful information and strategies they can apply to their caregiving situation. There are also classes that cover various topics designed to enhance caregiving skills, family relationships, and healthy living. At times Valley Caregivers receives donations of durable medical equipment and supplies which are made available to caregivers.

If you are providing care for an older family member Valley Caregiver Resource Center (VCRC) may be able to help you.