> Family Caregiver Support Program

Elder Services recognizes the importance of taking care of those who are caring for a relative or friend. The process of caring for a parent, spouse or friend can be stressful. The Family Caregiver Support Program can help you through the process by offering information and referrals to programs and services to support your caregiving efforts.


  • Caregiver must live in the Merrimack Valley or North Shore or care for someone living in the Merrimack Valley or North Shore.
  • Caregiver can be of any age caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias.
  • Caregiver can be of any age caring for someone over the age of 60
  • Caregiver of someone under 60 must be 55 or older
  • Caregiver (not parent)  caring for grandchild or relative child under the age of 18 must be 55 or older

The program provides individual sessions with a staff member to help caregivers navigate through resources and manage care for their loved ones and themselves. Services may include, but not limited to:

  • Caregiving counseling
  • Respite Care Scholarship Program
  • Habilitation Therapy
  • Information and referrals
  • Grandparent Campership Scholarships
  • Family Meeting Facilitation
  • Alzheimer’s /Dementia Education and Support
  • Relaxation Events for Caregivers

Program staff is professionally trained and have personal experience with the rewards and challenges of being a caregiver. They understand the complexity of managing someone’s needs at home, and the impact of these responsibilities on family dynamics. The Family Caregiver Program provides a continuum of support whether a caregiver is caring for someone at home, in assisted living or in a skilled nursing facility.

Submit a referral form or contact the Family Caregiver Support Program at 978-683-7747 or fcsp@esmv.org.

Caregiver Advisor-Caregiver Counseling

Caregiver Advisors can help navigate the system of public and private care options so the best possible choices in elder care are made. Whether seeking information, arranging supportive services, helping to determine housing options, or addressing a financial concern, a Caregiver Advisor can help caregivers navigate the complex system of public and private care options to assist them. The Caregiver Advisor services are free. Consultation can be provided in the home, preferred meeting places, at our office, or over the phone. The Caregiver Advisor can meet with caregivers individually or as a family. The care recipient does not need to be present at the time of the meeting.

For more information contact the Family Caregiver Support Program at 978-683-7747 or fcsp@esmv.org.

Habilitation Therapy

Habilitation Therapy is a non-medical interpersonal approach to caring for someone with memory loss. Habilitation strengthens an individual’s current abilities improving functional independence and more. The aim of Habilitation Therapy is to simplify tasks and help your loved one participate more fully in his/her own care and be an active participant in life by addressing anxiety, agitation, wandering and other problematic or reactive behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. The Habilitation approach helps to reduce caregiver stress and burnout and may help to facilitate a rewarding experience for all caregivers. For more information contact the Family Caregiver Support Program at 978-683-7747 or fcsp@esmv.org.

Respite Care Scholarships

In an effort to assist caregivers with a safe, dependable, and temporary solution for a break from 24-hour caregiving, we have Respite Care Scholarships available. The scholarships are available for caregivers of grandchildren, frail elders, individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia, or elders caring for the disabled.
The respite scholarships are available for such things as:

  • Respite placement of a frail elder
  • Short-term in-home care as respite for a caregiver
  • Assistance with short-term respite in a care facility

The respite care may include services provided at home or a temporary stay in a respite facility that provides around-the-clock care. To learn more about applying and the process contact us today at 978-683-7747 or fcsp@esmv.org, and we will arrange a home visit to begin the application process.

Grandparent Campership Scholarship Program

The Grandparent Campership Scholarship Program is offered to eligible grandparents or older adult family members age 55 and older who have legal custody of a minor relative and need assistance in paying for summer camp or other extracurricular activities as temporary respite. To be eligible, grandparent and child must live in the Merrimack Valley or North Shore area and applicants must complete the assessment process prior to beginning the application process. Contact the Family Caregiver Support Program by calling 978-683-7747 to request more information.

Additional Services and Support

Following are additional services and support through the Family Caregiver Program that do not have age or residence eligibility.

Northeastern MA Alzheimer’s Partnership Event Series
In collaboration with the Northeastern MA Alzheimer’s Partnership, The Family Caregiver Support Program helps to coordinate a series of events to provide information, education, and respite to caregivers across the Merrimack Valley and North Shore. Each event features an educational presentation, information on local resources for caregivers and their loved ones, and relaxation activities such as chair massages, art classes, and yoga demonstrations. Events include Morning for Me and The Latino Caregiver Event. For more information on these and other events, please visit the event page or contact The Family Caregiver Support Program at 978-683-7747.

Caregiver Support Groups/Memory Cafes
Caregiver support groups are set up to provide a safe and inviting atmosphere for caregivers to come together to find encouragement, comfort and advice from others who share similar experiences and concerns. Some caregiver groups focus on specific diagnoses and others are open to anyone providing care. Memory Cafes are different from support groups in that they include the care recipient and focus on reigniting the relationship between the two through an engaging activity. If you are interested in a support group, contact The Family Caregiver Support Program at 978-683-774.

Powerful Tools for Caregiver Workshop
Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a free six-week educational program designed to support those who are caring for a relative or friend. As a participant, you will benefit from this class whether you are helping a parent, spouse, friend, someone who lives at home, in a nursing home, or across the country. You will learn how to:

  • Reduce stress and relax
  • Communicate effectively with other family members, doctors or paid help
  • Reduce guilt, anger, and depression
  • Make tough decisions
  • Set goals and problem solve

Savvy Caregiver Program
Taking care of a person living with Alzheimer’s or related dementia is specialized work. To do this work successfully, caregivers need special skills, knowledge, and a positive attitude that helps them to care for themselves. The Savvy Caregiver Program is a free six-week training series for family and friends who are active caregivers. Savvy Caregiver will help you:

  • Understand the impact of dementia on both you and the person you are caring for.
  • Learn the skills you need to manage daily life.
  • Take control and set goals.
  • Communicate more effectively.
  • Strengthen family resources.
  • Feel better about your caregiving.
  • Take care of you!

For more information on the Savvy Caregiver Program, contact our Healthy Living Center of Excellence at 978-946-1211.