Alameda county families caring for a loved one with a mental illness can use the Family Caregiver Information, Referral and Support Services Program operated by the county’s Mental Health Association. Family members can speak to a specialist to get answers to questions about how to navigate the mental health system, the impact of mental illness on a family, and resources such as support groups specifically for family caregivers. For more information about this free service, call (510) 835-0188 or check the website at www.mhaac.org under The Families Advocate link.
San Mateo County caregivers who care for someone over age 60 can get free legal services through the CareGivers Legal Assistance Network, run by the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County. CareGivers Legal Assistance can answer questions in the areas of legal and/or medical decisions, guardianships and conservatorships, planning for incapacity and other issues related to the caregiving experience. This service is also available to grandparents over the age of 60 acting as the primary caregivers to minor children. Service is available in English and Spanish. To make an appointment, call (650) 558-0915 and ask for the voicemail box for this program. You can find more information at www.legalaidsmc.org.
Legal services are available to residents of Contra Costa County aged 60 and over through Contra Costa Senior Legal Services. Seniors can call (510) 374-3712 for telephone legal counseling about housing problems, consumer complaints (including nursing homes) and long-term care issues. If appropriate, representation from a lawyer can be provided. Assistance with estate planning includes advice on living trusts and powers of attorney. Simple wills can also be drafted.
Marin County seniors and their families can call the Senior Information and Assistance Line at (415) 457-2186 to get information and referrals for senior services, including respite programs, adult day care, and caregiver support programs. A separate line, called Assistline Information and Referral, is available to provide assistance with a wide variety of housing needs. Call (415) 491-2345 for assistance on the phone or (415) 491-2325 to make an appointment.
Have you or a loved one had difficulties with a hospital discharge plan in San Francisco? If so, contact the Healthcare Action Team to discuss your situation. The Healthcare Action Team (H.A.T.), organized by Planning for Elders, is working with consumers to identify the problems and questions related to discharge planning and to address these concerns with hospital administrators. For more information or to discuss your discharge experience, contact Aaron Wagner at (415) 703-0188.
Seniors in the LGBT community in San Francisco can find a wide variety of programs through New Leaf Outreach to Elders. Support groups for caregivers are available, with two support groups for men currently meeting. Outreach to homebound seniors is available from the Circle of Loving Companions, a volunteer group of friendly visitors. There are currently fifteen social programs, including groups for art, reading and writing, quilting and a choir. For information call Jan at (415) 626-7000, ext. 409.
Members of the LGBT community in Santa Clara County can receive services from the Billy DeFrank Lesbian and Gay Community Center in San Jose. Caregivers and other community members can access information and referrals, as well as short-term therapy at the counseling clinic. The senior lunch program includes social and educational activities for participants. Presentations on health, spirituality and legal issues are available as well. Interested community members can call (408) 293-2429.
Free pet care is available to low-income pet owners in San Francisco who have disabling illnesses. PAWS: Pets are Wonderful Support provides monthly access to a pet food bank, pet food delivery, free or subsidized veterinary care, dog-walking, in-home cat care and emergency foster care. The goal of the program is to assist residents in caring for pets that they already have and not to help clients get new pets. Services are not available for young animals, amphibians or reptiles. Call (415) 241-1460.
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