WASHINGTON/ APRIL 01, 2021/ The National Alliance for Caregiving and Adira Foundation have joined forces to address the needs of caregivers as they navigate the many challenges brought to light by the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent study from the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP found that the United States has 9.5 million more family caregivers now than in 2015, encompassing more than one in five. “Caregiving in the U.S. 2020” also revealed that caregivers are in overall worse health than five years ago. As caregivers face the COVID-19 pandemic with greater risk in managing government orders to stay at home and isolate, the need for caregiving resources is growing.
Caregivers that live with the person who needs care and those that support someone in a facility both face added challenges with care responsibilities given such widespread “stay at home” restrictions. One caregiver living in Florida said, “the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new concerns about the care my mother is receiving. Since visits to her assisted living facility aren’t allowed, I haven’t been able to witness the care received and haven’t been informed of any of my mother’s health changes.”
“These combined challenges indicate that any strategy to support family caregivers during this time must strengthen efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19—while also maintaining the support that families provide in health and long-term care settings,” says C. Grace Whiting, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving.
“That is why the National Alliance for Caregiving and Adira Foundation have collaborated on a digital education platform, Take Care, for family caregivers,” she said. They have enlisted a steering committee of industry experts to guide the project, including: Emily Skehill, Program Manager of Public Education and Awareness, Mental Health America; Madison Mason, Senior Associate of Policy, National Health Council; David Banda, Patient Advocacy and Community Engagement Lead, Clara Health; Jennifer Levin, Founder, Caregiver Collective; Patricia D’Antonio, Vice President of Professional Affairs, Gerontological Society of America.
This platform aims to provide support to caregivers by offering meaningful resources to support state, local, and national public health efforts. As respite is not available to most families, this program will also identify and share tips for families on how to practice self-care at home.
The site allows caregiver stakeholders to submit resources that support caregivers’ needs through a wiki-type collaborative content platform. The website will seek feedback from visitors on the COVID-19 Caregiving Framework, developed by NAC and Adira, that reflects the reality of caregiving during a crisis and beyond and that ensures the content improves and grows in the direction people need.
Founder and CEO of Adira Greg Smiley said Adira is proud to fund such a vital program. “A central library of online caregiving resources, designed and tended by those who live these struggles day in, day out, is a dream,” he said. “How something so foundational doesn’t already exist surprises us. We believe common community is what will see us through to better places. Nothing is more common amongst those dealing with complex conditions than caregiving. We couldn’t be happier than to give liftoff to such a vital resource.”
In this time of particular uncertainty, take time to take care of yourself and the caregivers in your life. Visit http://www.takecare.community for more information and to access important resources.