With generous support from Pfizer, we were honored to provide 8 mini-grants to caregiving coalitions interested in highlighting the challenges facing family caregivers at work. Each coalition grantee led an event in early 2015 that recognized a Champion of family caregiving issues and identified the needs of family caregivers balancing work and care in diverse communities across the country.
2015 Working Family Caregivers Champions Grantees
Aging Together (Virginia)
Aging Together is an alliance of five communities and more than 100 organizations and individuals who work together through county-based teams and workgroups to serve aging adults in Virginia. The group also supports family caregivers in the Virginia Counties of Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange, and Rappahannock. The event was a breakfast meeting featuring the local members of the Chamber of Commerce and representatives of the business community that was held was on January 22nd in Culpeper. Attendees included service providers, representatives of banks, insurance providers and retail business owners, family caregivers and Chamber members. Each person attending received a packet with information for Human Resources departments and about caregiver resources in the region. “Research shows that providing support, ranging from simple information and referral to more substantial options, such as counseling, respite care, education and training for caregivers, can reduce the negative health and work-related effects of caregiving and improve overall employee productivity,” said Chris Miller while addressing attendees.
- Next Steps: The coalition’s next steps include presenting this summer to the Virginia General Assembly Business Development Caucus, future presentations on Family Caregivers that work in Orange, Fauquier, and Madison counties through the Chambers, and a presentation to the Major Industries committee of the Culpeper Chamber of Commerce.
Caregiver Coalition of Northeast Florida
Community Hospice of Northeast Florida
The Caregiver Coalition of Northeast Florida serves approximately 3,500 family caregivers across Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. John County. The coalition supports families in both rural and urban settings. On Feb. 23, a panel discussion – “Building a Culture of Care for Tomorrow’s Workforce” featuring Florida State Sen. Aaron Bean (R – Jacksonville) as its ‘Caregiving Champion’ and panelists Francine Parfitt, director, Memory Disorders Clinic, Mayo Clinic Florida; Terri Barton, executive director, Aging True Community Senior Services; and Deborah Stewart, M.D., medical director for provider and client solutions, Florida Blue – was held at WJCT. State Senator Bean moderated a panel discussion featuring the following panelists: Francine Parfitt, Director, Memory Disorders Clinic, Mayo Clinic Florida; Terri Barton, Executive Director, Aging True Community Senior Services; and Deborah Stewart, M.D., Medical Director for Provider and Client solutions, Florida Blue. During the discussion, Sen. Bean shared with working caregivers and human resource attendees the issues working caregivers face today. Panelists suggested resources, provided best practices and shared their own personal experiences as working caregivers for their loved ones.
- In the News: The Northeast Florida Community Hospice released a press release, available at: http://communityhospice.com/media/75801/Caregiving-Panel-Discussion-flier_PRESS_NOCROPS.pdf.
Caregiver’s Rest Conference Coalition
Caregivers Respite (Tennessee)
The Caregiver’s Rest Conference Coalition services mostly urban family caregivers in the greater Memphis Tennessee area. The group hosted a Listening Session for Working Family Caregivers on January 24, 2015 in Memphis, featuring a panel discussion and remarks made by U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (pictured to the left with coalition leader Janice Williams). The Listening Session panel discussion featured representatives from the local AAA, private sector employer representatives, and caregiver advocates.
- Next Steps: The coalition is planning a “part II” follow up event to be held on July 15th to continue the discussion, in addition to collecting a survey from attendees after the event.
The Edel Caregiver Institute Community Coalition Advisory Collaborative
Hospice Savannah (Georgia)
The Edel Caregiver Institute Community Coalition Advisory Committee, organized by Hospice Savannah, is a new organization that includes representatives from a broad range of local non-profit health and human services organizations. The coalition will serve families in the Southeastern Georgia communities of City of Savannah and Chatham, Bryan, Effingham, Long, and Liberty Counties. On Friday, January 16, 2015, The Edel Caregiver Institute (ECI) hosted a breakfast panel discussion for working caregivers. A continental breakfast was served and all attendees were given a color copy of ReACT’s Caregiver Experience infographic to bring back to their workplace. The event was moderated by Diana Morrison, a well-respected small business owner, also a working caregiver. The 5 person panel included: Dr. Kathy Love, President, Savannah Technical College; Dr. Kathleen Benton, Director, Clinical Ethics at St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital and working caregiver; Alderman Van Johnson, Assistant Human Resource Manager, Chatham County; Dr. Debbie Burnette, Educator; and Paula Hudson, Edel Caregiver Institute.
The event was well attended with over 60 audience members, many of whom are members of the local Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Kathleen Benton, Director of Clinical Ethics, emphasized to the group that, “we are in a chronic state of caregiving.” Debbie Burnette, working caregiver and educator, noted, “Honest conversations and open dialogue change the culture in the workplace, making it easier for caregivers to take time [off] because coworkers and supervisors understand.”
- Next Steps: The Savannah-area chapter of SHRM decided to address working caregiving as their priority for 2015. The Chatham County, Georgia event was so successful that the coalition was asked to hold a similar event for the Chamber of Commerce membership in Effingham County in May.
Family Caregivers Coalition in Sheboygan County (Wisconsin)
The Family Caregivers Coalition in Sheboygan County directly serves family caregivers and supports family caregiving groups in the mostly rural and small urban communities of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. An “invitation only” breakfast event entitled Champions Who Care was held at The Bull at Pinehurst Farms on January 30th. The purpose of this event was to bring together key people of influence and raise their awareness about the challenges facing family caregivers who are balancing work and other responsibilities along with caregiving. The event included four video vignettes from caregivers telling their personal stories about the challenges they faced while working and providing care to a loved one. This was followed by an informative presentation by Janet Zander, Public Policy Coordinator from the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources. (GWAAR) Each of the four local Champions who Care shared a response to the information presented and shared their commitment to support family caregivers. They received a bound document recognizing their commitment. The final piece of the event was a “call to action.”
- In the News: The Sheboygan Press featured the event in an article in their Health section, available at http://www.sheboyganpress.com/story/life/2015/02/03/sheboygan-caregiver-coalition-names-champions/22830797/.
Metropolitan Caregiver Service Collaborative (MCSC)
Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging (MAAA) (North Saint Paul, Minnesota)
The Metropolitan Caregiver Service Collaborative (MCSC) serves family caregivers in seven counties in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region. MCSC supports caregivers that are caring for older adults and family members with dementia. The panel on caregiving was titled 6 in 10 Family Caregivers are Employed: The Impact on Women and the Workforce. The panel members included a state Senator, a small business employer/caregiver and the chapter Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)/ University faculty member/caregiver. The Panel was part of the larger Women’s Economic Security Summit held on January 29, 2015, with over 250 attendees including twenty-four Legislators attended, including representatives and senators from both parties and a mix from rural and metro areas throughout the state.
The summit consisted of three panel presentations, remarks from Governor Dayton and several member of the State Legislature. The panel moderator gave an overview, referring to the one-page handout on the topic area that was included in the attendees’ packets. Each panel member then shared from their perspective the workplace issues faced by caregivers and employers and possible solutions both legislative and business driven that would provide valuable support to working caregivers. “The event was an opportunity to focus the discussion on the impact of caregiving across the lifespan, and will hopefully lead to even more advocacy opportunities for our caregiver collaborative,” said Leanna Smith of the Metropolitan Caregiver Service Collaborative.
- Get the Handout: You can download the Fact Sheet shared at the summit here: Minnesota_Coalition_ChampionsEvent_Handout (PDF).
New York City Family Caregiver Coalition
Council of Senior Centers and Services (CSCS)
The New York City Family Caregiver Coalition is a program of the Council of Senior Centers and Services (CSCS). The coalition serves 13,000-15,000 caregivers in an average year. This grantee hosted a poster session and a press event on the Champions program, held in conjunction with LiveOn NY’s Annual Conference on Aging in New York City. The poster session included training for New York advocates, with handouts discussing the issues facing family caregivers at work. On February 12, 2015, Hamilton Madison House’s City Hall Senior Center, LiveOn NY Caregiver Coalition held a press conference to recognize NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer as a Caregiver Champion.
Comptroller Stringer was praised for his tireless efforts to address the difficult challenges facing family caregivers, specifically those who are trying to balance work and care giving responsibilities. “Scott M. Stringer understands that workplace flexibility is key to supporting these caregivers and helping them maintain balance and stability in their lives,” commented Igal Jellinek, Executive Director of LiveOn NY. The Coalition held a press conference at Hamilton Madison House’s City Hall Senior Center with the Comptroller to make the announcement and elevate the conversation on family caregiving issues in New York.
- In the News: Learn more about Comptroller Stringer’s work in the article covering the event at http://citylimits.org/2015/02/13/communitywire-stringer-honored-as-champion-of-caregiving/.
New Mexico Direct Caregivers Coalition
Caregivers Workforce Development Institute
The New Mexico Direct Caregivers Coalition serves on average of 4,500 New Mexicans a year. More than 45 caregivers attended the “Listening to Caregivers” session in Santa Fe, NM on February 2, 2015. Caregivers from throughout New Mexico who serve people with developmental disabilities attended the event which was part of the larger Disability Rights Awareness Day, hosted by The Arc of New Mexico and Disability Rights New Mexico. The listening session was part of a larger two-day session that was intended to help advocates develop leadership and advocacy skills so they can advocate on issues affecting them with their legislators. Later on, hundreds of care recipients and their caregivers will visit the state legislature to make their case in support of a bill that would designate a Disability Awareness Month, sponsored by Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino of Albuquerque.
- Next Steps: The coalition has reached out to Champions U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM-1) and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM-3) about the issues confronting family caregivers in New Mexico.