Vol. 9, No. 2
February 16, 2018
Dear Friends:

After four years, the Winter Olympics have returned. Fans around the world are captivated by the display of human athleticism at its highest level, and enthralled by experiences of toil and triumph. But at home, often unseen, are millions of family caregivers who have struggled, cried, sacrificed, fallen, picked themselves up, and smiled as much as any Olympic athlete. While their stories are untold and unknown to the public, they’re no less inspiring and important.

There are no medals for family caregivers, no lavish awards ceremonies, no television interviews, and no product endorsement deals. Caregiving is the sometimes manageable, sometimes impossible work that must be done, because of a deeply held belief, love, a promise, or any number of unique and personal reasons.

Our mission at Family Caregiver Alliance is to provide and fight for the support and resources that family caregivers need, and to help knock down those obstacles that impede their ability to provide care, for others, and for themselves. We’re here for you, and we’ll be here for you.


Calvin Hu
Education Coordinator
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves.”
— Marie Skłodowska Curie
Caregiving Up Close: Selene

An important part of FCA’s 40th Anniversary Celebration is recognizing and honoring family caregivers. Over the years, FCA staff have heard the personal stories of thousands of caregivers, as we strive to fulfill our mission of supporting, and advocating for caregivers.

Selene was a mother with young children when she was unexpectedly thrust into the role of caregiver. After her mother suffered a debilitating stroke, Selene chose to move her mother into her home, providing care for nearly a decade. Selene has graciously shared her story, reflecting on her time as a caregiver, and recounting the help FCA was able to provide.
Rosalinde Gilbert Caregiving Legacy Awards Reception at AiA18

You are invited to join FCA and the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation for a special reception (wine and hors d’oeuvres) honoring the 2017 Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards winners during the Aging in America Conference in San Francisco.The awards honor outstanding nonprofit programs that address the needs of Alzheimer’s disease caregivers. Winners receive $20,000 each.

The 2017 winning programs include:  Jewish Family & Children’s Service’s Percolator Memory Café Network;  Florida State University Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine’s  ACTS 2 Project: African-American Alzheimer’s Caregiver Training and Support; and  ARTZ Philadelphia’s ARTZ @ Jeff: An Arts and Dementia Mentoring Initiative.

When: Tuesday, March 27, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m
Where: Parc 55 Hotel, Market Street Room (Level 3), 55 Cyril Magnin Street, San Francisco 94102
New FCA Fact Sheet: Thinking of Quitting Your Job to Care for a Loved One?

Family caregiving often begins when individuals are in middle-age and at the height of their earning potential. In fact, the average caregiver is a 49-year-old woman and the demands on her time and well being can be significant. This FCA Fact Sheet title —  Thinking of Quitting Your Job to Care for a Loved One? — is a question we pose to caregivers who may be struggling with their caregiving and employment responsibilities. By reading this first, FCA hopes to provide answers to some of the questions caregivers should ask themselves and their family before leaving the workforce. Included are resources and information that may help you stay employed.
How You Can Deduct Your Medical Expenses

Taxpayers burdened with substantial medical costs can still deduct these expenses up to 2019, if they total at least 7.5 percent of income.Starting in 2019, medical expenses will need to be 10 percent or more of income. Eligible taxpayers must itemize to receive this deduction. A recent AARP article discusses the process of deducting medical expenses, lists what medical expenses are covered, and explains other relevant considerations such as the increase in the standard deduction.
Five Tips for Improving a Difficult Caregiving Day (plus Q&A)

Caregiving can be a roller coaster: Some days you’re enjoying the ride and some days you’re holding on for dear life. It can be unpredictable and downright difficult! This webinar will provide you with five tips to help your day be a little less stressful. There will be an extended time for questions and answers about dementia caregiving — send your questions in with your registration!  

Speaker: Lindsey Vajpeyi, BA, ADC/MC
 Lindsey Vajpeyi has experience in activities and wellness in long-term care, as well as in programs and services at a large non-profit. Lindsey’s entire career has been dedicated to working with persons living with dementia and their caregivers, with a focus on improving quality of life for all affected by dementia. Lindsey is currently the Director of Education and Outreach at Insight Memory Care Center in Fairfax, Virginia. 

When: Wednesday, February 28, 11 a.m. to 12 noon (PT)
Where:  ONLINE
Cost:   No Charge
Contact:   Calvin Hu,   chu@caregiver.org , (415) 434-3388 
Registration: Click here
Understanding Grief

Grief is something that everyone has or will face in their lives. It is also experienced very differently from person to person. In an article for the New York Times, health columnist Jane E. Brody interviews psychotherapists and recent authors Julia Samuel and Megan Devine on this universal experience. The psychotherapists explain some of the mistaken ideas around grief, and give tips for those grieving, and for those seeking to console a grieving loved one.
Family Crisis Or New Joy? Get Paid Time Off For It

California’s Paid Family Leave program allows most employees to take as much as six weeks time off, with partial pay, to provide care for a seriously ill family member, or to bond with a newborn or adopted child. Now a caregiver herself, California Healthline columnist Emily Bazar, explains how the program works, and how she was able to use it to provide care for her father, recently diagnosed with cancer. Ms. Bazar also interviews FCA’s Leah Eskenazi, who shares some insights as to why so few family caregivers take advantage of paid family leave.
There Must Be a Better Way Than This!  
(A Free One-Day Class for Dementia Caregivers)

In this FCA class, you’ll have the opportunity to learn tips and strategies for understanding and communicating effectively with someone living with dementia. This class will also cover how to handle difficult behaviors, how dementia impacts a person’s ability to understand and communicate, and how to feel more confident in your caregiving role.

Pre-registration is required and group size is limited.   Please let us know if you have a disability and require specific accommodations. This class is specifically for family caregivers, not providers.  

When:  Wednesday, March 21, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: San Pablo Community Center, Activity room #2
2450 Road 20, San Pablo 94806
Cost:  No charge
Registration:  Amanda Hartrey, ahartrey@caregiver.org, (415) 434-3388 x 334
Powerful Tools for Caregivers

This free, six-part class offers new skills and tools for family caregivers of those with a chronic health condition such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, or stroke. At Powerful Tools, you will have the opportunity to learn how to reduce stress, make difficult caregiving decisions, communicate more effectively during challenging situations, and prevent caregiver burnout.

Pre-registration is required and group size is limited.   Please let us know if you have a disability and require specific accommodations. This class is specifically for family caregivers, not providers.  

When:  Mondays, April 16, 23, 30, and May 7, 14, and 21, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. 
50 Broad Street, San Francisco 94112 
Cost:  No charge
Registration:  Annie Roche,  aroche@caregiver.org , (415) 434-3388 x 317
Tech Tools for Caregivers

This workshop will offer a practical overview of how technology tools may help family caregivers provide care for a frail or ill family member, partner, relative, friend, or spouse at home. Technology products like smart phone apps, communication aids, in home sensors, and webcams can help make a home safer, and reduce the caregiving workload. The class will include information on how to determine what your needs are, the costs of tech tools, privacy considerations, and ease of use.

When: Thursday, April 19, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Veterans Memorial Senior Center, Gold Star room
1455 Madison Ave, Redwood City 94061
Cost: No charge
Registration: Calvin Hu, chu@caregiver.org, (415) 434-3388 x 313
Enroll in the SHARE Program

FCA is seeking San Francisco Bay Area family caregivers to enroll in the SHARE program (Support, Health, Activities, Resources, Education). Over the course of five telephone or in-person home visits, SHARE counselors will help you get the most out of today while planning for tomorrow. The goals of SHARE include learning effective communication skills, reducing stress, promoting health, and learning about long-term care management. The SHARE program is offered at no charge.

SHARE is specifically for caregivers of adults (close family or partner/spouse), with a confirmed diagnosis of a chronic health condition, 60 or older, living at home, and with intact cognitive abilities. Eligible conditions for SHARE include, but are not limited to: heart disease, diabetes, COPD, arthritis, kidney disease, stroke, or HIV-AIDS.  Care receivers with a neurocognitive disorder like Alzheimer’s disease, a mental health condition, traumatic brain injury, or are in the terminal phrase of their condition, are unfortunately not eligible.

Please contact Michelle Venegas, (415) 434-3388, for more information.
Family Caregiver Education Series

The City of Fremont  Family Caregiver Support Program began an eight-week caregiver educational series in January. These workshops will cover a wide range of topics and are offered at no cost to all family caregivers of the Tri-City area. Attendance at all workshops is not required.


  • February 21: Communication Strategies
  • February 28: Taking Care of Yourself
  • March 14: Caregiving and Forgiveness
Pre-registration is required. Refreshments begin at 9:30 a.m. Special accommodations for those with disabilities can be provided with three weeks advanced notice. These workshops are specifically for family caregivers, not providers.  

When: Wednesdays, through March 14, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon
40086 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont 94538
Cost: No charge — donations to City of Fremont are greatly appreciated
Registration: Frishta Sharifi,  fsharifi@fremont.gov, (510) 574-2035
Mindful Caregiving for Family Caregivers

Zen Hospice Project has created a unique education program specifically for family caregivers that teaches contemplative practices and skill-based approaches for navigating the challenges of caregiving. Participants will learn about being present with discomfort and suffering, preparing for end-of-life, creating a plan for self-care, maintaining boundaries, and mindful communication.

When:   Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where:  San Francisco, TBD
Cost: $300, partial scholarships may be available
Registration:  Click here
A Matter of Balance — Fall Prevention Program

A Matter of Balance is an eight-week program designed to decrease fear of falling by teaching participants how to fall safely, exercises to promote strength and balance, and how to identify and mitigate fall risks at home. The program is for anyone who has fallen, has concerns about falling, or has decreased their activities from a fear of falling.

When:  Mondays , March 5, 12, 19, 26, and April 2, 9, 16, 23, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
13909 East 14th Street, San Leandro 94578
Cost:  No charge
Registration: Register at the San Leandro Senior Center Registration Desk or, (510) 881-0300 x 270
Take Charge!

Take Charge! is an advance care planning workshop for anyone over the age of 18. At this workshop participants will learn how to create an advance care plan. This plan includes thinking about what matters most, explaining wishes to family and friends, choosing a health care agent, writing down wishes, and sharing the plan.

This one-day workshop will be offered on multiple dates. Please register before attending.

When: Wednesdays, March 14, June 13, and July 11, from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. or Thursdays, April 19, and May 10, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
800 Middle Avenue, Menlo Park 94025
Cost: No charge
Registration: Matt Savage,  msavage@penvol.org, (650) 272-5045

FCA’s tip sheet,  Making End-of-Life Decisions: What Are Your Important Papers? , is a helpful summary of the legal documents needed to ensure, that if you are incapacitated, your wishes are honored.
Silicon Valley Reads

Silicon Valley Reads is an annual community program that selects books focused on a contemporary theme and offers free events throughout Santa Clara County to engage the public of all ages in reading, thinking, and discussing the topic. This year’s theme is caregiving. Silicon Valley Reads is free, and includes author discussions, panels, film screenings, art exhibits, and workshops. Participants can choose to attend over  100 events, including activities for children and teenagers.

When: February to March 22
Where: Multiple locations, Santa Clara County
Cost: No charge
20th Annual Updates on Dementia Conference

Join the  Alzheimer’s Association  for the largest  dementia specific ​educational conference  on the West Coast. Researchers and clinicians will present the latest research on the biological, social, psychological, and cultural aspects of aging and dementia, with emphasis on practical applications. Presenters include FCA contract attorney Matthew O’Donnell, specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law, and elder law.

When:  Thursday, May 10, from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
255 South Airport Boulevard, South San Francisco 94080
Cost:  $90 general admission, $50 seniors (age 65+) and students (with ID)
Registration:  Blanca Vazquez-Arias, bvazquez@alz.org , ( 408) 372-9922  
FCA’s  Facebook page   offers articles and posts of interest for family caregivers. Please follow our page at www.facebook.com/FamilyCaregiverAlliance .
Headlines From the January 2018 Caregiving Policy Digest

  • RAISE Family Caregivers Act Signed
  • State Actions to Address Financial Burden of Caregiving
  • Nursing Homes: Patients at Risk
  • Addressing the Challenges of Emergency Room Visits for Older Adults
  • Potential Impact of Medicaid Work Requirements for a Kentucky Family
  • New Dementia-Specific Advance Directive

The entire January 2018 issue is available  here.
Do You Get Caregiving Policy Digest?

Published monthly, this e-newsletter focuses on legislation and policy, caregiving research, and media coverage of caregiving issues. The recent, issue is available   here. Visit the  archive  for past issues and click  here   to subscribe.
We would like to take a moment to extend a warm thank you to the many generous supporters who make the work we do possible through thoughtful donations to Family Caregiver Alliance.

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Connections Credits
Calvin Hu
Francesca Pera

Kathleen Kelly
Calvin Hu
Lana Sheridan
Michelle Venegas
Leah Eskenazi
Christina Irving

Executive Director
Kathleen Kelly
FCA Board of Directors

Jacquelyn Kung

Dan Lieberman

Wyatt Ritchie

Kathleen Raffel

Athan Bezaitis
Catherine Lelong
Rajiv Mehta
Chris Park
Scott Peifer
Celine Takatsuno