Doug Sheaffer – Pacific County

Help available for family caregivers

January 10, 2020


By: Doug Sheaffer



Hello. I’ll be your server today…

            We’ve all heard it and probably a lot of us have responded with something like

Hello. I’ll be your customer today..

Self identification. Titles that define what we do.  In most instances, it works well. However in a family where one member is helping another member, titles are—at best—superfluous.

I can’t really picture Dad saying to Mom I’ll be your caregiver today. Nor can I picture Mom stating Thank you. I’ll be your care receiver today.  (Although in my family that type of humor could happen.)

The point is, in family caregiver scenarios, we tend to think of ourselves as family—no other titles needed, thank you. We have lived through a list of identifiers at work, in the community and in the family—parent, sibling, or just plain Josephus.

What’s in a name? Sometimes plenty, though usually it’s to identify to others what role we’re taking on. It’s also part of the difficulty when helping people in this situation.

Am I still the spouse, or am I a caregiver? Yes. You are. Both. And the caregiver part doesn’t lessen your identity in the family dynamic.

I do realize that despite being the same people, some of your daily living tasks have changed. Schedules adjust, errands take a little more planning, and often it seems like there’s too much “stuff” and too little time.

I get it. I also know that taking care of another family member can be isolating, frustrating (on everyone’s side), and exhausting. The added tasks don’t cancel out the daily responsibilities you already had.

And most families wouldn’t even consider not helping regardless. However, it doesn’t have to be a solitary journey. Support—in a variety of ways—could be available to help out. We never know if the available assistance would work for us, but I can guarantee that if you don’t look into it, you’ll never know.

From talking to others in the same circumstance, to getting advice and finding resources—it can result in saving/maintaining some energy. And it’s called the Family Caregiver Support Program.

Again, the title isn’t as important as the reality that there’s help out there. There’s also the dynamic that occurs when we’re talking to someone—what we’re looking for comes into sharper focus.

So: If you like to do a little exploring before picking up the phone, go to, hit Programs, Caregiver Support/Family Caregiver Support Program and see what might interest you. Or, you could pick up said phone and call Bob Powell at 360 642 3634, ext. 2213 if you live in south county, or 360 942 2177, ext. 2506 for north county.  Email also works:

Help is only help when it helps.


Information & Assistance

Long Beach: 360 642 3634/888 571 6558     Raymond: 360 942 2177/888 571 6557