The program was understandably popular. At the start of the new year, though, I wondered, "In view of the many budget cuts, will the program continue?" The answer is "Yes!"
It's funded by Seattle-King County Aging and Disability Services, and sponsored by Evergreen Health. According to Karin E. Taifour, of the Geriatric Regional Assessment Team, there is currently little or no waiting list.
Perhaps you might qualify. Do you provide transportation for your aging parent? Do you do laundry, run errands, or clean house, so your parent can maintain independence? Do you monitor your parents long-distance, making sure they're safe?
Day in and day out, these caregiving tasks can put you in the danger zone for stress.
Caregivers don't have to put in 40 hours a week to be eligible for the free counseling. They don't have to live with the friend or loved one they care for. The elderly person can even reside in an assisted living community or adult family home, anywhere except a nursing home. There are no income restrictions on the program, either for the caregiver or for the elderly person.
The focus is on problem-solving, self-care, stress management and positive change. It has been dubbed "Starbucks Therapy." Counseling sessions often take place, not at home, but in a relaxing place like a coffee shop. Sounds like just what the doctor ordered!
Caregivers living in King County can schedule their visits by calling 425-899-6300 or 1-800-548-0558.