San Diego Caregiver Connections 

Son and Mother Taking photo in Living Room

Caregiver training courses are the foundation of quality care. They equip caregivers with essential skills, knowledge, and empathy required to provide safe and effective support while making a meaningful difference in the lives of those they care for. The SDSU Center for Excellence in Aging & Longevity (CEAL) is committed to delivering the highest standard of caregiver training and ensuring the well-being of both caregivers and care recipients. 

The Need

With an aging population and increasing demand for personalized care, there simply aren’t enough trained professionals to meet these needs. This shortage puts immense pressure on existing caregivers, compromises the quality of care, and leaves vulnerable individuals without adequate support.

1 out of 5 Americans are caregivers to an adult with health or daily living needs. In California, there is a labor shortage of 3.2 million direct care workers. 80% of caregivers are women and 51% are on public assistance. Direct care workers earn less than half of the state's median annual income. 1 in 5 caregivers report financial hardships 26% of Americans are caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. 61% of family caregivers are also working. 1 in 3 caregivers provides 20 hours of care per week Unpaid caregivers deliver 34 billion hours of care to older adults in the United State valued at $470 billion. 47% of adults in their 40s and 50s in the "sandwich generation: care for both a parent and a child.

Our Solution

CalGrows Emblem

The SDSU Center for Excellence in Aging & Longevity (CEAL) is a CalGrows Innovation Fund grant recipient. CalGrows is a California Department of Aging (CDA) program designed to support caregivers of older adults and people with disabilities by improving their skills through in-person classes and online training courses, career coaching, and up to $6,000 in incentive payments.  Learn more at

CEAL leveraged CalGrows funding to create San Diego Caregiver Connections. This groundbreaking initiative includes free competency-based courses, peer support, and career pathways to increase job satisfaction and retention rates. Eligibility for this program extends to both paid and direct care professionals in home and community settings and unpaid family and friend caregivers.

Free Training Courses

If you’re a caregiver, or know someone who is, we invite you to explore our comprehensive training curriculum, available both online and in-person. Our courses cover essential topics, including activities of daily living, stress management, understanding dementia, and effective problem-solving techniques.

Additional courses for in-home and community-based caregivers are available on the state-wide CalGrows Course Catalog. Click here to view the full suite of online and in-person training opportunities to help improve your occupational skills on your own terms. 

Eligible paid direct care workers can earn up to $6,000 for completing training courses. Click here for more details on the CalGrows incentive program.

Peer Support

Caregiving is both a profoundly rewarding and intensely demanding role. Whether you are caring for an aging family member, a loved one with a chronic illness, or working as a professional caregiver, the journey can be overwhelming. However, you don’t have to navigate this path alone. The San Diego Caregiver Connections Peer Support program is a strong network of peers with shared experiences who can provide emotional support, advice, empowerment, problem-solving skills, and resources.  

Shared Experiences: Peer support groups provide a safe space for caregivers to share their experiences and emotions without judgment. Being in the company of others who understand the challenges you face can be immensely comforting and validating. 
Reduce isolation: Isolation ca lead to a decline in mental health. Peer Support combats this isolation by fostering a sense of belonging. it helps caregivers build a supportive network that understands and empathizes.
Practical Advice: Caregivers often encounter complex situations and decisions. Peer support provides practical advice and solutions. Others may have faced similar challenges and can offer guidance and strategies. 
Education and Referrals: Peer Support is an opportunity to learn. Caregivers can exchange knowledge about medical conditions, caregiving techniques, and referrals. This wisdom helps caregivers become more effective. 
Respite and self-care: Peer support encourages caregiver to prioritize self-care. Through shared experiences, caregivers learn the importance of taking breaks, seeking respite care, and maintaining their own well-being.

One of the many benefits of peer support is finding a sense of worth becoming a mentor to others. A person’s lived experience transforms into lessons of hope and achievement. If you are interested becoming a peer support mentor, click here to sign up for our next training session.  

For more information on our Peer Support program, contact Fernando Reyes at

Our Partners 

Determined Health 

Glenner Family Centers 

Stepping Higher, Inc. 

County of San Diego IHSS Public Authority