NWRC's Family Caregiver Support program provides support to unpaid caregivers in Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties.

Family and friends have always been the primary source of help to those with long-term care needs. They are the backbone of this nation’s in-home care system. Caregivers represent all genders, ages, and ethnic groups. They are wives, husbands, partners, daughters, sons, neighbors, and friends.

The importance of supporting family caregivers

Families have always been, and continue to be, the primary source of help to those with long-term care needs. In fact, it is estimated that family and friends are the sole sources of assistance for nearly 75 percent of people who need help with routine daily activities.

Caregivers represent all gender, age, and ethnic groups. They are wives, husbands, daughters, sons, neighbors, and friends. They cook meals, wash clothes, administer medications, and provide companionship. Without them, many people with long-care needs would either be in costly institutions or would live in isolation and at high risk. 

Yet most family caregivers have little or no training and minimal support. They often have financial difficulties, lack information on caregiving skills, and can experience feelings of isolation and depression. Family Caregiver Supports Programs provide outreach and education to those caregivers by building upon our community's existing supports and services.

Available resources

Caregiver Fact Sheets provide practical information. 

Caregiver Information Booklets provide educational materials on a variety of topics, including Alzheimer’s/dementia, stroke, depression, and self-care. They are provided free of charge and can also be downloaded from the Internet. 

  • Alzheimer’s and Dementia
  • Caregiving Tips
  • Depression
  • Taking Care of the Caregiver

Caregiver Kits provide a collection of practical caregiving information, as well as material to encourage you to take care of yourself, because we know caring for someone can be stressful. These kits are available in English, Russian, Spanish. 

Caregiver Resource Libraries are located throughout the region. Materials available for checkout include a comprehensive selection of books, videos, and periodicals. For information on library locations and materials, contact your local Family Caregiver Support Program. 

Personal Caregiver Survey The first step in the caregiver screening and assessment process is filling out a Personal Caregiver Survey. The Personal Caregiver Survey asks you to reflect on your experiences and rate your response to a series of statements based on identified rating scales in each section. You can print a copy and fill it out by hand or type your answers in the Survey on your computer. If you fill the Survey out on your computer, print it out once you’re done. You will need to make arrangements with your caregiver specialist (see contact information below) to get him or her a copy of your completed survey.

Specialists and resource coordinators

Staff in each county help caregivers find reference materials, coordinate services, and provide follow-up support using an evidence-based assessment tool for caregivers.

Caregiver consultants and training

Caregiver Consultants are available to provide in-home training and support, custom-tailored to the needs of the individual caregiver and care recipient. Consultants include nurses, occupational therapists, nutritionists, and counselors throughout the region.

Training is available for interested caregivers. Training can be arranged for various needs, from Fundamentals of Caregiving to Alzheimer’s Disease training. 

Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a six-session educational program for family caregivers that provides tools for increasing self-care, communicating with health care professionals, and for dealing with and finding solutions to difficult situations. Classes are provided in various locations throughout this region.

Respite care

Respite Care provides a break for caregivers who need to be away for anywhere from a few hours to two weeks. Care is provided by qualified professionals, and may be provided in the home, in a nursing facility, in an assisted living facility, or through an adult day service program.