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VFCSC - Take Care of Yourself

Caregiver Awareness


Caregiver Self Assessment Questionnaire
Abstract: The Caregiver Self Assessment Questionnaire was developed by the American Medical Association to help caregivers evaluate their needs. The questionnaire guides caregivers through a process of self-evaluation – and then helps them interpret the score and identify next steps and valuable caregiver resources.

Taking Care of You
Abstract: There are self-care tools you can explore today, to make sure that you are taking care of yourself. When someone is a family caregiver, they frequently think only about the health and well-being of their care recipient, often to the detriment of their own health--emotionally and physically. Caregivers need to remember that if they stay healthy, they'll be better able to provide care to their family member.

Related Links:

  • AARP Family Caregiving:  The AARP Family Caregiving page provides a valuable resource for caregivers providing articles, stories, guides, and local resources.
  • is for family caregivers, providing trusted information, practical answers to real-life questions, and ongoing support through every challenge.
  • Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregiver Center:  The Alzheimer's Association's Caregiver Center provides caregivers important information about the disease and their role at different stages, training resources and tips for caregivers to stay healthy.
  • has a variety of resources to help family caregivers. You'll find newsletters, a magazine, a store, recipe ideas and care tips.
  • Family Caregiver Alliance, National Center on Caregiving:  This website provides information, education, services, research and advocacy for caregivers.
  • Lotsa Helping Hands: Lotsa Helping Hands is an online community that brings together caregivers and volunteers who help restore health and balance to caregivers' lives.

Learning Opportunities

Caring for You: Mind, Body, and Soul - A Free Online Course: Are you caring for someone with dementia or memory loss? The Riverside Center for Excellence in Aging and Lifelong Health offers Caring for You: Mind, Body and Soul, a free educational video course for caregivers. Ten short lessons offer practical tips to boost caregivers’ confidence and their ability to care for themselves. Learn new skills and tools to effectively care for loved ones with memory loss.

Everyday Yoga for Mature Living Video or Cable TV: Join a gentle chair yoga program taught by Lucy Gerland, a certified yoga instructor and caregiver specialist with the Fairfax Area Agency on Aging. These half-hour programs are ideal for those with moderate to limited mobility. There are two, half-hour programs. Part 1 focuses on yoga for the entire body and Part 2 features exercises for the eyes and laughter for the lungs and spirit. They can be viewed from a device that connects to the internet (laptop, computer, smartphone) or if you live in the Fairfax viewing area, by watching Cable TV Station 16 during the times listed on the website above.

American Society on Aging (ASA) Family Caregiver Support Webinar Series: ASA has teamed up with Home Instead Senior Care to present web seminars that address pertinent caregiving issues. This family caregiver support webinar series features a variety of topics that will help caregivers navigate the many issues that arise while caring for an older adult.

Seasons of Care Webinar: This webinar was one of a series offered by Family Care Alliance, National Center on Caregiving. In this webinar focused on Wellness and Self-Care for the Family Caregiver, the following topics are covered:

Click here to view slide show

  • Understanding the value of wellness and self-care for themselves
  • Becoming inspired and motivated to integrate self-care into their daily life
  • Learning how to identify daily opportunities for self care
  • Creating opportunities to rekindle joy, and strengthen inner resilience


Support Groups


Finding the Right Support Group
Abstract: It seems like we all learn in different ways. Some learn by doing, others by watching, some learn from reading. Sometimes it's comforting to hear someone share a similar situation that you experienced. Support groups give us a new way of learning, sharing, and being with a group when you feel all alone. It can be reassuring to hear that someone has the same problem, feels the same way or has a more challenging situation than you do. Support groups are a safe place to share your feelings, to learn from others, have conversations that bring relief and support. This article provides things to think about when you are looking for a group.

Related Links:

  • Online Support Groups: provides online support groups for various types of caregiving situations including caring for a parent or spouse, long distance caregiving, and end of life care.
  • FCA Online Support Groups:   Family Caregiver Alliance provides several online support groups including Caregiver-online; the LGBT Community Support: Caregiving for our Families and Friends support group; and the Smart Patients Caregivers Community that is in partnership between Smart Patients and the Family Caregiver Alliance. 


Planning for Respite

Formal and Informal Programs

Articles & Guides:

Exploring Respite Opportunities and Options
Abstract: This resource helps caregivers explore informal community, relationship, or technology supports that might provide respite opportunities or respite enhancements outside the formal respite services system. Going beyond community respite, there are other resources such as links to online support groups and e-learning, virtual museum trips, technology supports, mindfulness, stress reduction and relaxation apps, and more that family caregivers can access from home to get a needed break.

A Practical Guide to Respite for Your Family
Abstract: This resource is helpful for family members of children with disabilities and chronic or terminal illnesses. It is designed to be used by family members and by professionals assisting families in finding and accessing respite options.

Receiving Respite Care Safely During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Guidelines For Families
Abstract: The ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center has developed this guide to assist you and your family with careful and thoughtful decision making to ensure respite care is received as safely as possible during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Taking Care: A Resource Guide for Caregivers
Abstract: Taking Care was created by the Virginia Caregiver Coalition (VCC). Every caregiving situation is unique. This comprehensive guide is meant to support caregivers of older adults and those with disabilities and provide resources and information to meet their specific needs.

A Variety of Respite Programs Available
Abstract: Respite services allow the caregiver a brief period of time away from the dual stresses and strains of providing round-the-clock care and managing their household, job, and family life. There are a variety of respite programs usually available--sometimes, we need to think outside the box to make one fit our situation.

The Caregiver's Resource Library
Abstract: Whether you are providing hands-on care or overseeing care from afar, The Caregiver's Resource Library on will help you prepare for and navigate your role as a caregiver. This guide offers valuable information including planning for the future, communicating with family, navigating the healthcare system, exploring housing options, and caring for yourself while caring for your family. 

Charting the LifeCourse Respite Tools
Abstract: These respite tools provide information on the importance of respite, tools for thinking about and planning for respite, and additional resources for finding informal respite in the community. Resource materials include a respite guide book, portfolio, and other tools meant to help family caregivers caring for anyone of any age or disability to create a plan to access respite services whether within or outside of the formal services system. To see the Charting the LifeCourse Respite Guide, click here

Related Links:

  • ARCH's The ABCs of Respite, A Consumer's Guide for Family Caregivers:  ARCH provides an electronic National Respite Network and Resource Center. This consumer friendly guide will help answer simple and complex questions that caregivers may have.
  • American Heart Association, Caregiver Section:  The American Heart Association provides an online support network for information, education and encouragement.
  • Finding and Hiring Respite Providers (Alabama):  The Alabama Lifespan Respite program provides caregiver resources and information to help them find, hire, and keep respite providers.  
  • National Respite Locator Service:  Through the ARCH National Respite Locator Service you can access an interactive map to get information on respite funding and caregiver services and supports in your area

Hiring your Own Provider


Hiring In-Home Help
Abstract: This informative article from the Family Caregiver Alliance, provides an overview of aspects to consider when hiring people to help at home.

10 Tips for Finding the Right Home Care Agency
Abstract: Being an educated consumer can help you when you are trying to find the right home care agency for you and your family's needs. 

Personal Care and Personal Assistance Services
Abstract: Would you like more information about what personal care and personal assistance services are? This article provides a detailed overview of these services.

Related Links:

  • National Criminal Background Check for Employees or Volunteers Providing Care to Children, the Elderly and Disabled: (Previously SP-24; revised in 2019 to SP-325). Use this form to request a Criminal History/Background Check. 
  • Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), Personal Assistance Services:  Personal Assistance Services (PAS) may be provided through DARS to individuals with physical disabilities such as spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, or muscular dystrophy, who require assistance from another person to perform non-medical activities of daily living. These services might include transferring, bathing, eating, dressing, or other physical activities that the individual could perform if they did not have a physical disability. This website provides details about the 3 programs DARS manages.


Paying for Respite

Ways to Pay

Articles or Definitions:

Sliding Scale - Sliding scale fees are variable costs for products, services, or taxes based on one's ability to pay. Such fees are thereby reduced for those who have lower incomes or less money to spare after their personal expenses, regardless of income.

Voucher and Scholarships Programs - Respite Voucher or Scholarship Programs provide financial assistance to home-based caregivers for the cost of temporary respite care. Programs may have limitations and specific eligibility requirements.

Virginia Lifespan Respite Voucher Program (VLRVP)
Abstract: The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) offers up to $595 in reimbursement per family for respite services to assist Virginians with disabilities or chronic conditions and the family members who provide their care. 

Medicaid Home and Community-Based Waivers
Abstract: Medicaid Home and Community-Based Waivers are programs that help meet the needs of people who live in the community but are at risk of entering an institution (such as a nursing home). Information is included in this article about the waiver programs offered in Virginia.

VA Aid and Attendance and Housebound Benefits
Abstract: Veterans and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension and require the aid and attendance of another person, or are housebound, may be eligible for additional monetary payment. Learn about these benefits that are paid in addition to monthly pension, and they are not paid without eligibility to Pension.

Related Links:

  • My Life, My Community initiative:  My Life, My Community (MLMC) encompasses an overarching vision whereby people with developmental disabilities live, work, play, and thrive in their communities, just as others do, with the support they need. MLMC is an online tool that helps answer basic questions about services and supports for individuals and families. 
  • US Department of Veterans Affairs:  The website for VA Pension Benefits including 'Aid and Attendance' and Housebound.

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