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Coast Caregiver Resource Center

The silver tsunami is upon us. 25% of SLO County residents are 60 years or older according to the 2013 Action for Healthy Communities survey. In the past few years, the Community Foundation has made three grants to Coast Caregiver Resource Center totalling $15,000. They have covered a range of services including caregiver respite, one-on-one counseling, and caregiver support groups. As a recipient of Federal funding from the Area Agency on Aging, grantees are required to secure a 25% local match. CFSLOCO grants have leveraged $45,000 in Federal funding to the county that has provided hundreds of hours of support services to scores of families.

Is this support making a difference?

During a Foundation site visit last year, Bill shared his story. He is retired and is the primary caregiver for his wife who has advanced Parkinson’s Disease and cannot be left alone. He attends support groups once a month that are led by the Coast Caregiver Resource Center staff. “I’ve been attending these support groups for several years. It is a chance to talk with others who share my experiences  and understan”, he said. “We learn from each other and we have become true caring friends I can reach out to in times of need.” Coast Caregiver Resource Center provides respite care so that Bill can attend the support groups without worrying about  leaving his wife alone.

Another Coast Caregiver Resource Center client is Sherry. She is a local high school teacher and her husband Tom was a construction worker. They have a grown son away in the military. While on the job, Tom fell three stories from a roof. He was in a coma with a severe brain injury. If he lived, the doctor’s prognosis was he would need 24 hour residential care in a care facility. Sherry was advised to get a divorce to save the family from financial ruin.

Tom awoke from the coma with physical and cognitive limitations. “I didn’t know where to turn or what my options were”she said. “ I got Tom into physical therapy and he regained some motor function, but once it looked like he wasn’t progressing anymore the sessions ended.”

A friend of Sherry’s referred her to Coast Caregiver Resource Center. Sherry met one-on-one with a counselor who helped her access local non-profit programs. Tom continued to improve and now has the physical strength and ability to care for himself, however his cognitive skills are those of a 3rd grader.

“I’m an intelligent person, but I didn’t know how to navigate the health care system by myself.” Sherry said. During this time, her mother became ill and Sherry struggled with caring for her husband and also traveling to support her mother. The stress was so great, she blacked out while driving and ran off the road. Fortunately no one was hurt. Coast Caregiver Resource Center staff helped her with respite care and counseling to understand the importance of self-care. Sherry feels empowered and has also become an advocate. She has traveled to Sacramento to testify on the need for support services for non-congenital brain disabilities.

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