Vermont Business Magazine Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging (SVCOA) and Community Care Network – Rutland Mental Health Services today announced a new partnership that provides free caregiver counseling to family caregivers in Rutland County in 2019. The program, which will focus on reducing caregiver stress, will help participants learn and implement strategies for stress reduction, limit the physical and emotional impacts of caregiving, encourage caregivers to engage in better self-care, improve overall mental health and expand their support systems. In an effort to accommodate the needs and schedules of caregivers, the counseling service will be offered in-home as well as at SVCOA’s administrative office in Rutland.
“In recent years we’ve learned there is a large, unmet need for family caregiver support and counseling to help caregivers cope with the stress and rigors of caring for loved ones,” said Cinda Donton, Elder Service Clinician with Rutland Mental Health and SVCOA. “As a result, SVCOA and Rutland Mental Health have teamed up to offer this free caregiver support program with anticipation that it will work to counter some of these effects and help to ensure better caregiving experiences for those in our area.”
“Often caregivers find it difficult to make appointments out of the home due to their caregiving responsibilities, so we want to make the program as user-friendly as possible,” said Donton. “We greatly appreciate the work that family caregivers provide to their loved ones while recognizing that it often comes at a toll physically, emotionally and mentally for the caregiver.”
Referrals to the service will be generated through SVCOA and The Community Care Network, as well through various community partners and service providers. Once referrals are received, program staff will work to assess the stress level and stressors of each caregiver and assist them in undertaking their caregiving in ways which are less stressful for them.
The service is being offered free of charge to any unpaid family caregivers age 60 and over, or any family caregivers who are caring for an individual who is age 60 or over.
Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging exists to be a community force in creating and sustaining opportunities for elders and caregivers in our region to help assure that elders are able to maintain maximum independence and quality of life.
For more information about SVCOA, visit www.svcoa.org.
About Community Care Network – Rutland Mental Health Services
The mission of Community Care Network – Rutland Mental Health Services is to enhance the well-being of our communities, individuals and families through responsive, innovative and collaborative human services.
For more information about CCN-RMHS, visit www.rmhsccn.org.
Background information below from the Family Caregiver Alliance – National Center on Caregiving (https://www.caregiver.org/caregiving).
- About 44 million Americans provide 37 billion hours of unpaid, "informal" care each year for adult family members and friends with chronic illnesses or conditions that prevent them from handling daily activities such as bathing, managing medications or preparing meals on their own.
- Family caregivers, particularly women, provide over 75% of caregiving support in the United States.
- In 2007, the estimated economic value of family caregivers' unpaid contributions was at least $375 billion, which is how much it would cost to replace that care with paid services.
- Many caregivers of older people are themselves elderly. Of those caring for someone aged 65+, the average age of caregivers is 63 years with one third of these caregivers in fair to poor health.
- Family caregivers are being asked to shoulder greater burdens for longer periods of time. In addition to more complex care, conflicting demands of jobs and family, increasing economic pressure, and the physical and emotional demands of long-term caregiving can result in major health impacts on caregivers.
- The "typical" U.S. caregiver is a 46-year-old woman who works outside the home and spends more than 20 hours per week providing unpaid care to her mother
Source: RUTLAND, Vt. – Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging 2.11.2019