HOME CARE SPOTEver wished you had someone to talk to when you needed guidance, or just a listening ear, to ease the stress of caregiving?

If you’re a family caregiver on Long Island, AARP can connect you with a coach through a free telephone helpline. The volunteer coaches are trained to help relieve some of life’s pressures through daily or weekly calls.

“Our coaches serve as a vital local resource,” said Bernard Macias, AARP associate state director for community outreach. “They help family caregivers avoid operating in crisis mode.”

Supporting caregivers is an important priority for AARP. The telephone coaching program is part of a larger plan to offer more resources and events for caregivers in the Nassau and Suffolk area.

An estimated 330,000 Long Islanders—nearly a third of Nassau and Suffolk counties’ 50-plus population—are caring for an adult relative or friend or have done so in the past year.

“I have people who really need this program,” said Thea Schiralli, 66, of Massapequa, a caregiver coach and herself a family caregiver. “It makes my day to make them happy. I get back what I give.”

To be matched with a coach or for information on how to become one, call the helpline at 631-642-7291. —Ronald E. Roel