Sunday, June 17 , 2018, 3:52 pm | Mostly Cloudy 67º


Jamie O’Toole Named Coordinator of Caregiving Referral Program Real Help

The Board of Directors of the local non profit the Center for Successful Aging announced that it has added a new program called Real Help, which has been transferred from the recently disbanded non profit Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).

Program Coordinator Jamie O’Toole will continue as the Real Help Program Coordinator.

Real Help is a small caregiving referral service for people who are both 55 and older and of low to moderate income.

It was established in the late 1970’s to help financially distressed seniors remain in their homes, with frail, ill or recovering, as well as aging, seniors in mind. The program was formerly managed by RSVP but the program has been transferred to the Center for Successful Aging.

Real Help services include personal care, rides to doctor’s appointments, errands, shopping, cooking, light housekeeping, laundry, pet care and minimal amounts of gardening. The program also maintains a referral list handyman, who keeps his prices low, as well as a gardener, for larger gardening needs.

Program staff does not touch or administer medications but can remind a client to take medication. Staff do not touch financials or checks books but have bookkeeper referrals for any financial needs.

There is a two hour minimum and charges start at $15 an hour. If there is a lot of driving involved, the caregivers can charge a gas cost by the mile.

Jamie O'Toole

Since Real Help is a referral service and a non-profit, it does not take any money. The charges are paid directly to the caregiver by the client. The caregivers work as independent contractors.  

All the caregivers on Real Help’s list are carefully background checked. The Real Help application form also includes two personal and two job references, which are checked.

There are several CNAs and former CNAs on the Real Help list. If interested in being a caregiver, Real Help seek caregivers who have experience with the aging population and feel compassionate and understanding of the various problems the elderly face daily.  

CSA Board President Bobbi Kroot said, “'Real Help' is a natural and valuable addition to the senior programs that the Center for Successful Aging provides. We are delighted that RSVP organization chose CSA to carry on this much-needed referral program for seniors. Jamie O’Toole is a talented and caring coordinator and will expand our current work with seniors.”

The Center for Successful Aging offers senior-dedicated programs including counseling, peer counseling, daily phone calls to isolated seniors, training and educational programs, such as workshops and book review events.

The CSA Peer Counseling program provides confidential counseling services to seniors who are facing the challenges of the aging process for no charge. Peer Counselors, who are trained seniors themselves, offer emotional support, guidance and empathy to individuals facing the stresses of illness, loss of spouse or friends, isolation and other life-challenging transitions.  

The organizations also hosts the annual Puttin’ on the Ritz variety show that highlights talented seniors and publishes the Successful Aging newspaper, which is distributed throughout the South Coast.

The Center for Successful Aging is a non-profit charity organization 501(c) (3). For more information or to make a donation contact CSA in person at 1815 State Street, Suite E, Santa Barbara CA 93101, by phone 805.89.8080 or by email [email protected] or visit

For more information on the Real Help program, contact coordinator Jamie O’Toole at 805.965.1531 or email [email protected].

—Rochelle Rose represents the Center for Successful Aging.


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