Improvements to Caregivers’ Lives Focus of New National Center

Slated to launch in July 2001, a new National Center on Caregiving looks set to improve the lives of millions of caregiving families in the USA. The Center will expand the abilities of the Family Caregivers Alliance (FCA) to offer information and technical assistance to policy makers, aging and long-term care organizations, the media and family caregivers.

“In the U.S.,” says FCA Executive Director Kathleen Kelly, “long-term care services are fragmented. Whether or not you have access to services depends to a great extent on where you live. We have a rather lofty goal for the new National Center on Caregiving: we want no less than high quality, cost-effective, practical support programs available to caregivers in every state in the country. We are very grateful to the Archstone foundation for supporting our efforts in this regard.”

The program has four objectives:

– To develop and disseminate information about best practices at the state and national levels;

– To provide consultation and assistance to policy makers, business/foundation leaders and program developers on innovative caregiver support programs;

– To deliver high quality consumer information to caregivers; and

– To provide quality information for media seeking to cover caregiver issues.

In its dual role as model program and national advocate, Family Caregiver Alliance is in a unique position to meet these objectives. FCA has nearly 25 years of experience providing direct services to caregivers in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is the model for the 10 other Caregiver Resource Centers throughout California. The CRC system is, in turn, a model for the National Family Caregiver Support Program established through the Older Americans Act.

The National Center on Caregiving plans to undertake the following major activities:

– Develop a National Advisory Committee of experts in the field;

– Create and distribute best practice information in print and electronic formats;

– Prepare and disseminate policy briefs on issues related to family caregiving (print and electronic formats);

– Provide customized assistance for program developers, policy-makers and others;

– Respond to telephone, mail and e-mail inquiries from family caregivers across the country;

– Provide expert spokespersons, statistics and background information for the media;

The Archstone Foundation awarded a three-year grant to Family Caregiver Alliance to establish the national center.

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