Caregiver Support Program

Caregiving can be a daunting and stressful job. Being aware of available services and resources is key to providing the best care possible for a loved one. The Howard County Office on Aging and Independence's Family Caregiver Support Program and other local resources offer help and guidance to empower families and caregivers serving older persons and adults with disabilities.

Presentations from the 2017 Caregiver Conference.

Thank you to our 2017 sponsors for their generous support of the 5th annual Caregiver Conference: 

  • CareFirst MedPlus
  • Harry H. Witzke's Family Funeral Home
  • Howard County General Hospital
  • Integrace
  • Personal Home Care
  • Right At Home
  • Sunrise Senior Living
  • The Lutheran Village at MILLER'S GRANT

Caregiver Program Information


Caregiver Educational Series

Want to learn more about dementia? Join us for interactive discussions led by Dr. Tabassum Majid, Director of Research at the Integrace Institute at Copper Ridge. Each session will provide evidence-based, practical information to help you better understand and navigate what it means to live with, or love and support someone who is living with dementia.

  • April 12  The Basics of Dementia
  • May 10  Decision Making and Preferences in Care
  • June 14  Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
  • July 12   What's New in Treatment and Research

Attend one or all sessions.  All sessions are held at the Ellicott City 50+ Center from 6:30-7:30pm.  RSVP to Kathy Wehr, 410-313-5955 or

Download the series flier.

Quarterly Caregiver Education

The Caregiver Program hosts an educational session on various caregiving topics, along with a light meal on the 4th Tuesday in the months of March, June and September from 6:00 to 7:30 pm.  Respite care is available. Free; call Kathy Wehr at 410-313-5955 (voice/relay) to register for the next education session. 

Powerful Tools for Caregivers 

Powerful Tools for Caregivers (PTC) is an evidence-based course designed with the caregiver’s well-being in mind.  PTC is based on the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program developed at Stanford University’s Patient Education Research Center. In the six week course (90 minutes per class) caregivers develop a wealth of self-care tools to: 

  • reduce personal stress; 
  • change negative self-talk; 
  • communicate more effectively in challenging caregiving situations; 
  • manage their emotions; and
  • make tough caregiving decisions. 

Participants have found the program improves self-care behaviors in terms of relaxation, exercise and their own physical and mental well-being, management of emotions, increased confidence (both inside and outside their caregiving demands), and their ability to seek out and utilize community resources.  

If you or someone you know is a caregiver, encourage them to take advantage of this training opportunity. Our goal is to improve the lives of caregivers as well as care recipients through outreach, conversation, training, and resources.  

Call Kathy Wehr, Caregiver Program Support Manager, at 410-313-5955 for more information or to register.  The cost of the course is $30.00 which includes all course materials.  

In 2017, Powerful Tools for Caregivers will be offered at the following times:

  • Thursdays, June 1 thru July 6, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. / Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center
  • Tuesdays, October 3 thru November 7, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. / Ellicott City 50+ Center, 9401 Frederick Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042


“Caring Conversations”

Prepare to Care
The Howard County Office on Aging and Independence offers a workshop for family members entitled “Prepare to Care: Families sharing decisions in creating a long term plan”. The workshop is available several times a year to empower families about health, legal, financial, and end of life options.  “Prepare to Care” offers icebreakers to begin the conversation and then moves into the options available.  Workshop participants will learn ways to assess one’s needs; how to design a plan; and what services are available.  In addition, the workshop covers options available for aging in place, as well as alternate placements, and the possible costs involved financially and emotionally.   “Prepare to Care” offers families and older adults the opportunity to start the conversation and share decisions while creating a long term plan.  If you are interested in attending this workshop or want to learn more about these topics, call Maryland Access Point of Howard County at 410-313-1234 (voice/relay). 

The “Other” Talk
"The Other Talk:  Starting the Conversation and Offering Resources about health, legal, financial and end-of life concerns”   is offered several times a year to help older adults start conversations with their family members to discuss these important topics. Participants learn how to share their preferences and wishes for future needs so family members will respect their personal decisions and will help carry out their wishes. If you are interested in attending this workshop or want to learn more about these topics, call Maryland Access Point of Howard County at 410-313-1234.  See attached flyer for up-coming workshop.


5th Annual Caregiver Conference

The Caregiver Journey: A Universal Journey

Saturday, March 25, 2017

9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Gary J. Arthur Community Center at Glenwood

2400 Route 97, Cooksville, MD 21723

Details to follow on our events page.


Next edition of the newsletter is coming soon.

Day Programs in Howard County

Connections Social Day Program

The Connections Social Day Programs at Ellicott City, Glenwood and North Laurel provide a four-hour program for adults interested in structured activities and opportunities for socialization in an interactive, safe, and secure environment.  The program is designed to promote the continued independence of the community-based adult through specialized therapeutic programs and activities.  For more information on the Connections program, please visit their website.  

Kindred Spirits
The Kindred Spirits Social Club provides a place for people diagnosed with an early stage memory disorder to interact with other people walking the same journey.  

Participants in Kindred Spirits Social Club are required to: 
• Be screened prior to their first meeting to ensure their ability to benefit from the Social Club  
• Have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or a related memory disorder
• Have been told of their diagnosis and acknowledge their memory loss
• Understand the purpose of the Social Club
• Express interest and willingness to participate
• Be able and willing to discuss feelings and experiences related to their illness in a group setting
• Have no other medical conditions or serious mental illness which might put him/her or others in the Club at risk
• Sign a copy of the guidelines for the Social Club participation

For more information on Kindred Spirits, please visit their website.

Caregiver Support Grant Information

Although there are many support services available for older adults and their caregivers, a primary goal of the Family Caregiver Support Program is to provide individual caregiver support. The Federal Government, through the Older Americans Act, provides each state with funding for the Family Caregiver Support Program.  The Office on Aging and Independence is authorized to distribute these funds to caregivers for services such as respite care, personal care, or purchase of needed items. To find out if you are eligible, please call Maryland Access Point at 410-313-1234 (voice/relay).

The Federal Government provides guidelines to qualify for this funding; they include serving caregivers who provide assistance to individuals: 

Those Eligible:

• Adult family members or other informal caregivers age 18 or older providing care to persons over 60.
• Adult family members or other informal caregivers over age 18 providing care to those with Dementia related disorders.
• Grandparents and other relatives (not parents) 55 years or older providing care to children 18 years or younger.
• Grandparents and other relatives (not parents) 55 years and older providing care to adults age 18-59 with disabilities.

Local Support Groups

Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group
Bain Senior Center
5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia
2nd Thursday of each month

Caregiver Support Group
East Columbia Senior Center
6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia
3rd Monday of each month

Caregiver Support Group/Chronic Conditions
HCGH/Medical Pavilion Bldg. 
10710 Charter Drive, Columbia
Contact for registration is Dianne Tollick
1st Tuesday of each month at 3:30pm

Parkinson’s Disease Support Group for
  Caregivers and their Care Partners
Vantage House Life Care – Retirement Community – Arts and Crafts Room
5400 Vantage House Road, Columbia, MD  
Contact: Lynada Johnson – 410-992-1120
2nd Tuesday of each month – 10:00am

Community Support Group for Caregivers 
Somerford Place – Alzheimer’s and Dementia Assisted Living
8820 Snowden River Pkwy., Columbia
410-313-9744 -  Contact Judy Beyer
2nd Wednesday of each month from 10:30am-12:00pm

Community Support Group for Caregivers 
Somerford Place – Alzheimer’s and Dementia Assisted Living
8820 Snowden River Pkwy., Columbia
410-313-9744 -  Contact Judy Beyer
2nd Wednesday of each month from 10:30am-12:00pm

Korean Caregiver Support Group
Bain 50+ Center
5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia
Contact is MJ Engle
2nd Tuesday of each month at 10:30am-12:00pm

NAMI Caregiver Family Support Group
Harmony Hall 
6336 Cedar Lane, Columbia
Call 410-772-9300 for registration
2nd Tuesday of each month

NAMI Caregiver Family Support Group
Celebration Church 
6080 Foreland Garth, Columbia
Call 410-772-9300 for registration
3rd Friday of each month

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Support Group
Bethany United Methodist Church
2875 Bethany Lane, Ellicott City
2nd Saturday of each month at 10:00am


PPA Resource and Discussion Group
for those with Primary Progressive Aphasia and their caregivers
Sponsored by the Loyola Clinical Centers held at the Loyola Graduate Center, 
8890 McGaw Rd., Columbia, Md 21045 
4th Wednesday of the month except August, November, December
1:00 pm
For more information or to RSVP call Cindy Nichols, SLP at 410-617-7717 or 

Caregiver-Related Websites

Updated May 2016

There are many websites for caregivers. Below is a sampling of several that a caregiver might find helpful. Howard County Government does not support or endorse any of the listed websites. It also apologizes if the links to sites are not active once the caregiver tries to reach the location. The Office on Aging and Independence makes every effort to provide current data.

AARP Caregiving:  
Alzheimer and Dementia Caregiver Center: 
Ask Medicare:
Benefits Checkup: This site will help you determine if you or a care recipient are eligible for public benefit programs   
Bigger Conversations:  Caregiver Wellness Circle
Cancer Care: 
Caregiver Action Network:
Caregiving Café: 
Caregiver Stress: 
Caring From A Distance:
eCare Diary:
Eldercare Locator:
Family Caregiver Alliance:
Hospice Foundation of America:     
Lotsa Helping Hands:
National Adult Day Services Association:
National Alliance for Caregiving:
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging:
National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers:
National Center on Elder Abuse:
National Family Caregivers Association:
National Multiple Sclerosis Society: 
NeedMeds: A site with information about assistance for paying for prescriptions medication     
Parkinson’s disease Foundation: 
Patient Advocate Foundation: provides assistance to patients with chronic, debilitating or life-threatening diseases on issues of job retention, medical debt crisis or insurance access.  Assistance takes the form of mediation and arbitration services.  PAF does not offer financial assistance.  If you need help with co-pays, call their Co-Pay Relief Program at 1-866-512-3861.  A case manager can also take the patient's details and look for companies that offer help getting the meds that he or she needs. - See more at: 
Respite Locator:
Social Security Administration:
Thriving in the Middle:
Veterans Administration: 
Well Spouse Foundation: