Adapting to a new role is always an adjustment. When an elderly family member faces a health crisis, often it leaves little preparation time for family members to prepare for their new role as family caregivers. When you consider that caregivers need to make that adjustment while facing the demands of their own jobs, family obligations, and personal goals, making the adjustment is even more difficult.
At the same time, when one family member cares for another, the caregiving role can be rewarding as family relationships grow and deepen. Families who are in the season of caregiving acknowledge that even while the experience is rewarding, it can also be frustrating and exhausting. Long-term caregivers find that taking care of themselves is the best cure for burnout.
The Los Angeles Department of Aging (LADOA) was established in 1973 through the Older Americans Act as a means for helping seniors and their caregivers maximize the best quality of life possible. The program is funded through a federal program, the Area Agencies in Aging (AAA). LADOA provides caregivers with information about helpful services and programs and helps caregivers access the programs.
LODOA offers family caregiver trainings in four to six sessions in various locations throughout the city. Topics include stress reduction, dealing with dementia, mental health and aging, creating positive interactions, and physical problems of older adults. Interested caregivers can find out more by calling (213) 482-7252.
LODOA eases the burden of caregivers by coordinating care for frail or ill seniors. Services include in-home assistance and services, legal assistance, nutrition and meal services, transportation, and health education and screening services.
LODOA provides weekly support groups throughout Los Angeles. Caregivers can get a schedule of groups by calling Erika Brown at (213) 482-7252. LODOA can also arrange for respite care for family caregivers on an intermittent, occasional, or emergency basis. They also provide individual counseling for caregivers.
Caregivers who care for veterans will find support through the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. The VA trains professionals to help caregivers find the services and supports that will help them the best. Caregivers may call the VA Support line toll free at (855) 260-3274 to get their questions answered right away or to be connected with a local Caregiver Support Coordinator. The local coordinator can help the family caregiver find a local peer support mentor, who can show them the ropes by sharing their experiences, wisdom, skills, and passion. Caregivers may be matched with a mentor for a short or long term, and may correspond by email, phone or letters. Local Care Coordinators can also help Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) Centers that accept VA funding. ADHC centers are open Monday through Friday during normal business hours to give veteran caregivers a well-deserved break. Coordinators can also arrange for home-based primary care, skilled home care, homemakers, health aides, and set up home telehealth services. Other services that the VA provides are respite care and home hospice care.
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