Family Caregiver Advocates Address Needs Across the Lifespan

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The National Alliance for Caregiving Convenes More than 100 Family Caregiver Advocates at 2018 Annual Conference

Late last month, the National Alliance for Caregiving convened more than 100 family caregiver advocates in San Francisco to set the agenda for caregiving policy work moving forward.

“We are starting to build the infrastructure necessary to support a diverse group of family caregivers,” said Michael Wittke, BSW, MPA, Director of Advocacy at the National Alliance for Caregiving. “These individuals have to navigate a complex healthcare system, financial strain, and workplace issues in the 21st century. Caregiving is an issue whose time has come.”

The one-day meeting hosted by the National Alliance for Caregiving focused on topics such as building capacity for caregivers across the lifespan, developing caregiver-friendly communities, and caregiving and the workplace. Several national and state advocates presented, including representatives from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), Legal Aid at Work, the National Partnership for Women and Families, and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, among others.

Advocates sought to broaden the scope of current efforts by sponsoring caregiving coalitions from across the United States to attend the conference. A caregiving coalition is a community of representatives that has come together to address the needs of family caregivers across the lifespan. These coalitions support family caregivers with information, referral services, educational outreach, and advocacy.

Lylie Fisher of the Montgomery County MD Caregiver Coalition in Rockville, Maryland represented one of ten advocacy organizations attending the conference on a scholarship. “Montgomery County is a unique community - one of the most economic and racially diverse communities in America, yet in part due to its size and pockets of economically depressed regions, it has residents living in poverty. Family caregivers in our community experience both economic and personal hardships while supporting loved ones. Attending this national conference allowed me and the County to gain first-hand knowledge of how other communities are addressing social disparities and the needs of family caregivers.”

In addition to the Montgomery County MD Caregiver Coalition, other scholarship recipients included:

  •     Montana Lifespan Respite Coalition
  •     Lake County CaregiverNet
  •     Massachusetts Lifespan Respite Coalition
  •     New York State Caregiving and Respite Coalition
  •     Metropolitan Caregiver Service Collaborative
  •     Northern Colorado Respite Coalition
  •     Alamo Caregiver Support Coalition/Hispanic Outreach Coalition
  •     Virginia Caregivers Coalition
  •     Bexar Area Agency on Aging Caregiver Coalition

The meeting was hosted in partnership with the American Society on Aging at the Aging in America 2018 Conference, and was graciously funded by the Archstone Foundation, Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and UnitedHealthcare. For more information, please visit http://www.caregiving.org/coalitions/annual-conference/.

About the National Alliance for Caregiving
Established in 1996, the National Alliance for Caregiving is a non-profit coalition of national organizations focusing on advancing family caregiving through research, innovation, and advocacy. The Alliance conducts research, does policy analysis, develops national best-practice programs, and works to increase public awareness of family caregiving issues. Recognizing that family caregivers provide important societal and financial contributions toward maintaining the well-being of those they care for, the Alliance supports a network of more than 80 state and local caregiving coalitions and serves as Secretariat for the International Alliance of Carer Organizations (IACO). Learn more at http://www.caregiving.org.

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C. Grace Whiting
@NA4Caregiving
since: 10/2011
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