The SEAGO Area Agency on Aging (SEAGO AAA) has been serving the needs of older adults in Cochise, Graham, Greenlee and Santa Cruz counties since 1973. In July 2017, the SEAGO AAA added a new program to the in-house services we offer from our office: the Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP).
The FCSP primarily focuses on unpaid family caregivers; the wife caring for her disabled husband, the son caring for his aging mother, the friend caring for an elderly neighbor. Often these individuals do not even consider themselves caregivers since they are caring for a family member or friend, and it’s people like these the FCSP is designed to assist by providing support and coordinating access to resources.
Evidence shows that most caregivers are ill-prepared for their role, and provide care with little or no training or support from others. Statistics show that more than one-third of caregivers continue to provide intense care to loved ones while suffering from poor health themselves. Family members who provide care to individuals with chronic or disabling conditions are themselves at risk. Emotional, mental, and physical health problems arise from complex caregiving situations and the strains of caring for frail or disabled relatives, day-in and day-out. An influential factor in a caregiver’s decision to place a relative in a long-term care facility is the family caregiver’s own physical health.
Caring for a loved one who is aging and/or living with disabilities can be challenging, but the good news is the FCSP Care Coordinator at the SEAGO AAA is here to help. The Care Coordinator’s role is to provide the following:
· Information to caregivers about available services
· Assistance to caregivers in gaining access to services
· Individual counseling, organization of support groups, and caregiver training and education
· Supplemental supportive services (on a limited basis)
These services work in conjunction with other Home and Community Based Services, such as caregiver respite and home delivered meals, to provide a coordinated set of supports for the caregiver and their loved ones. Studies have shown that these services can reduce caregiver depression, anxiety, and stress and enable them to provide care longer – thereby, avoiding or delaying the need for costly institutional care at great expense to the Arizona Long Term Care System which is funded by our tax dollars.
If you live in Cochise, Graham, Greenlee or Santa Cruz County and would like to obtain more information on the FCSP and learn about upcoming workshops in your area, please reach out to Amparo Ruede, FCSP Care Coordinator. Amparo can be reached at 520-432-2528, Ext. 221 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .