Family Caregiver Support

If you find yourself helping an older friend or family member with managing day to day needs, finances, homemaking, medications, or providing emotional support, then you are a family caregiver. We are here to help.

READ our September 2022 Family Caregiver newsletter

Why Does a Family Caregiver Need Support? 

Family caregivers are unpaid family and friends who assist older adults or a person with dementia. Caring for someone's health and personal needs can be rewarding, but also time consuming and stressful. It can also be physically demanding and emotionally draining. Sometimes, caregivers are so busy taking care of their family member, that they overlook their own needs and become exhausted, making it difficult to continue caregiving. There are services and resources that can help you continue to provide needed care, while also taking care of yourself.

How can SMAA Help?

The Family Caregiver Support Program can help you:

  • Explore options and plan for future care needs
  • Learn tips on how to take care of yourself
  • Get ideas on how to balance caregiving with family and work
  • Identify available resources to help provide the care and assistance your person needs
  • Reduce your stress and anxiety 

Check out the Planning for Elder Care

You may find this video helpful if you are wondering how you begin to help an older family member/friend plan for their future. Perhaps you are wondering what concerns should be addressed and how you find resources available to help. How is elder care paid for and how do you begin these discussions with the older person are questions that may have come up for you as well. These considerations and more are discussed in this video.

Click Here to watch the Planning for Elder Care Video    

Services Offered

Caregiver Information, Support, and Options: We offer extensive resources that can help you in your caregiving. Resources include information on benefit programs, adult day programming, resources in the community, and more. A Family Caregiver Specialist can provide you with options to address your specific needs and help you plan for the future.

Classes: We offer a variety of classes, including Savvy Caregiver (if you are caring for someone with dementia). Additional classes teach about community resources, stress management, and problem solving.

Respite Care: The Caregiver Respite Program supports family caregivers of people with dementia. Without assistance these caregivers can become stressed and even exhausted over time. For eligible caregivers, this program reimburses some of the cost for someone else to provide care for the person with dementia thereby giving the caregiver the opportunity to take a break from caregiving.

Support Groups: We offer regularly scheduled support groups at our office and in the community to help you connect with other caregivers and cope with the challenges of caregiving.

Kinship Families: We also provide support for "kinship" families, usually grandparents or other relatives (age 55+) raising minor children in place of biological parents. 

NEW* Memory Cafe A Memory Café is a safe, non-judgmental space where caregivers and their loved ones living with memory impairment can socialize, learn, create, and more. We always provide a meal, refreshments, and different forms of entertainment: music therapy, art therapy, and gentle exercise. Come join others who walk the same path as you, share some food and laughs, and make new memories! Every 2nd Tuesday of the month at the Sam L. Cohen Center in Biddeford (30 Barra Rd., Biddeford, ME 04005). REGISTER today! 

Savvy Caregiver

Savvy Caregiver is a state-wide educational program for families and friends caring for someone with dementia. The 12 hour training (2 hours x 6 weeks) provide:

  • Knowledge - Learn what dementia is and how it affects personality and behavior;
  • Skills - Communicate more effectively with the person you are caring for, making each day better for you both;
  • Attitudes - Learn how to take care of yourself to reduce stress.

Check out our events calendar for the next available Savvy Caregiver traning.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U1QHP33080-01-00, Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program, Year One-total award amount $749,999.00. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by, HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

Caregiver Resources

Caregiving can be both rewarding and challenging. We have put together an assortment of resources to help you. For questions about these, or other caregiving concerns or supports, please contact the Family Caregiver Support Program at SMAA.

Bob and Judi - the story of a caregiverSouthern Maine Agency on Aging programs work together to offer services and resources that can improve the overall quality of life of our clients. Read the story of Bob and Judi to see how Bob who is the caregiver of Judi leveraged our Savvy Caregiver training, support groups, Respite Program, and Adult Day Services.