When a loved one is diagnosed with a debilitating disease, its impact can be felt throughout the family. This new stage will bring about important decisions, incredible sacrifices, and lots of uncertainty. If you have taken on the role of family caregiver, you may understandably feel a lot of pressure. Pressure to take on new tasks, pressure to make decisions, financial pressure, and more. The family caregiver experience is common, but that doesn’t make it easy. If you’re caring for a loved one at home, the good news is that there are lots of resources designed to help you through this journey. In this article, we will discuss some local Orange County resources and national resources to help you through this phase.
Assessing Your Needs
Before you decide where to get help, it’s important to assess your situation to determine what kind of help would be most useful. Every situation is different and your circumstances may not look like anyone else’s, even with the same diagnosis. To decide what kind of help would be most beneficial, here are some guiding questions:
Who in the family will organize care primarily?
What is important to ensure your loved one can live safely as independently as possible? For example, it could be daily task help, such as feeding, bathing, dressing, or medication management. It could also be more sporadic tasks such as housekeeping, transportation, or running errands on their behalf.
What is the prognosis for their diagnosis? Will their needs evolve over time?
What could you as a caregiver use help with?
Are there days and times you will consistently need help?
Do you have a job, children, or other family obligations that may need you on short notice?
What is your budget for outside help? Will your insurance cover any of this care?
If you are unable to fulfill a need for any reason, who can step in your shoes?
Once you have a good idea of what kind of help would be most beneficial to you and your loved one, it’s time to start looking for help and resources.
4 Resources for Family Caregivers in Orange County
It can be difficult to track down and access the resources in your local area. Instead of listing the hundreds of organizations out there, this article will focus on centralized resource locators. In other words, these listed organizations specialize in listening to your needs and helping to connect you with the resources most applicable to your situation.
The US Administration on Aging offers the eldercare locator to help you find programs and services that may be useful to you as a caregiver or your loved one in need of care. This is a federal resource that can help you track down local community programs and organizations. Their goal is to help elderly people live independently within their homes for as long as safely possible. They offer a vast range of resources and there is no cost to give them a call.
CareNav is an incredible free online tool that helps connect caregivers in Orange County to local resources. By answering a few onboarding questions, you will be paired with a specialist who will help personally connect you to information, guides, and any community resources that would be helpful to you. You will receive a personalized dashboard that will allow you to store your information, connect with your resource specialist, and receive answers to any questions.
Family Caregiver Support Program
The older Americans act of 1965 created the national family caregiver support program. The FCSP was established to offer services to family caregivers, and Orange County has its own chapter. Here are some of the available services offered by the FCSP:
Information to caregivers about available services and how to gain access to them
Caregiver training programs
Respite care to help you take a break when needed
For information about the FCSP, call the Office on Aging Orange County at 714.480.6450.
Caregiver Resource Center OC
The Caregiver Resource Center OC, a nonprofit organization sponsored by St. Jude Medical Center, has assisted family caregivers since 1988. Services are free or offered on a scale based on the ability to pay. Here are some of the available services offered by the California Caregiver Resource Center:
Assessment and care planning
Respite care assistance
Caregiver education and training resources
Assistance with finding and accessing services
Multicultural services offered in both Spanish and Vietnamese
For information about the California caregiver resource center, call 714.446.5030, or toll-free at 800.543.8312.
Where to Find More Information
If you provide regular care to your loved one, we at CRC OC are here for you. We invite you to check out our library of information for family caregivers by clicking here for further reading and resources. You are also welcome to give us a call at 800-543-8312 to find out more about how we can support you in your caregiving journey.