Skip to Main Content

Caregiving Resources

Information for family caregivers and those caring for aging or chronically ill adults


​Be sure to discuss information gathered from these resources with your health care providers to see if it is relevant to your individual situation. Health and medical information accessed through these websites is not intended to substitute for or to replace the advice or instruction of a health care professional. 

About PlaneTree Health Library

PlaneTree Health Library's mission is to guide the public to trustworthy, accurate, and free health and medical information. In operation since 1989, it is a free, public, patient and consumer health library and 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. It does not accept advertisements; it has no commercial relationship with the sources of information on these webpages. Visit our online information guides linked from our main website at:

What Kind of Help Do They Need?

It's not always easy or clear to know when it's time to bring in additional or expert help. These articles describe some of the most common concerns and warning signs.


What Kinds of Professional Help are Available?

To figure out what could help in your situation, it's useful to know about the most commonly available types of professional caregiving.


In respite care, professional caregivers give regular family caregivers a break from their duties. (More information about respite care is in the section Caring for the Caregiver).


The links above mostly talk about help with medical matters or assistance in the activities of daily life - but other kinds of professional help may be available if wanted.

Even if family or friends have legal or financial expertise, it may be wise to get professional advice to avoid conflict within the family.


When updating a home for better safety, or if upkeep and repairs seems too expensive and overwhelming to seniors, Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley's Safe At Home program helps qualified homeowners. (In other regions, look for a local Rebuilding Together chapter.)


Perhaps what's needed is help with eating or cooking healthy meals. There are commercial services available, at different levels of skill and functional ability. And while many people are familiar with Meals on Wheels programs, did you know that through the Social Services Agency - County of Santa Clara, Meals on Wheels also brings a friendly face and social conversation along with nutrition?

Hiring Through an Agency, or Independently?

If the responsibility to bring in expert help falls to the main caregiver (instead of to a social service office), then the next thing to decide is whether to employ that person independently, or to go through a hiring agency. The following links list the pros and cons of each method from both perspectives:

Sourcewise serves as the Santa Clara County administrator for in-home supportive services (IHSS), including a registry of pre-screened IHSS Independent Care Providers.


If the decision is made to hire independently, keep in mind that recent changes in employment law probably mean that they will be your employee, and not an independent contractor.


In some cases the VA Administration authorizes (and covers, at least in part) home health care:

The text on this page is copyright PlaneTree Health Library, licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Linked contents are the responsibility of their creators or copyright holders.