WAHIAWA, Hawaii - The role of caregiving can be overwhelming. It can include helping someone with their physical needs, like getting dressed, or making sure their finances and legal papers are in order. There's a nonprofit that helps provide those services: The Caregiver Foundation.

For seven years, Dr. Pokii Balaz has been a caregiver for her father with Alzheimer's, and her disabled nephew. Though she specializes in geriatric medicine, and she's aware of many resources in this field, she admits even she was overwhelmed. Then, she found The Caregiver Foundation.

Dr. Balaz worked with them to come up with a better care plan for her family. After it was in place, she recalls, "It gave me hope for my father and nephew that we could really achieve these goals we were setting."

The Caregiver Foundation is a small, Wahiawa nonprofit that was established 11 years ago to work with seniors, adults with disabilities, and their caregivers. Founder Gary Powell sums up the groups services as "everything from financial management through complete care coordination. [That includes] guardianship, conservatorship, trusteeship, right through death, burial, and estate distribution."

Powell says he helps most of his 150 clients with money management. "We lock down the assets and money. We make sure the bills are paid and the income is coming in properly. We make sure the taxes are filed on time," he lists, as a small example of what his group does.

Powell says coordinating care is another popular service. "Housecleaning, medical support, moving, finding appropriate placement for someone, making sure they're eating properly" are just some of the care services, he says. 

The group will customize a plan for each client. Dr. Balaz reflects on her experience working with them. "They can help you do the 'next step' process which is very hard for caregivers to [do to] think down the line- everything you need legally, financially, how to keep your house running, how to take care of yourself," she says.

Powell says he loves helping seniors. "Making their quality of life, the years they have left, as good as they can be within their resources, brings me great joy," he shares.

Dr. Balaz says the nonprofit is a lifesaver. She likens her stress level to storm seas, and says after working with The Caregiver Foundation,  "It really starts helping you calm the waters and you feel like, I can do this."

The Caregiver Foundation also offers caregiver support classes, and has a sign up list where clients can enroll themselves now in anticipation of needing future support. The foundation says it is a self-sustaining nonprofit, so it does charge a fee for services. More on The Caregiver Foundation at https://thecaregiverfoundation.org/.