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Support for Family Caregivers (CARES)

Alabama Cares Support for Caregivers Brochure

Program Administered: The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) established in 2000, provides grants to States and territories, based on their share of senior citizens. This funding allows families to keep their loved ones at home for as long as possible thereby preventing pre-mature nursing home placement. Alabama’s allotment under the Older Americans Act amendment created the Alabama Cares Program which is administered in Alabama under the Alabama Department of Senior Services (ADSS) through the 13 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA).

Purpose: The Alabama Cares Program provides services to assist Caregivers with the duties involved in taking care of their loved ones. Caregivers play a vital role in helping seniors maintain their health and independence. However, even though caregiving is rewarding, it can have a negative impact on the health and well-being of the caregiver. Caregiving has its greatest impact on the emotional health of caregivers. Caregivers of individuals with dementia and stroke survivors are at the highest risk for depression and anxiety disorders. Therefore, the purpose of this program is to assist Caregivers with the issues that may arise from the role of caregiving. The program also allows families to keep their loved ones at home for as long as possible, thereby preventing pre-mature nursing home placement. The National Family Caregiver Support Program offers support for caregivers across the state by providing services through five basic areas.

Services Provided:
1. Information Services: A service for caregivers that provides the public and individuals with information on resources and services available within their communities.
2. Caregiver Access Assistance: A service that assists caregivers in obtaining access to the services and resources that is available within their communities.
3. Caregiver Counseling: Counseling to caregivers to assist them in making decisions and solving problems relating to their caregiver roles.
4. Caregiver Respite: Services that offer temporary, substitute supports, or living arrangements for care recipients in order to provide a brief period of relief or rest for caregivers.
5. Caregivers Supplemental Services: Services provided on a limited basis to complement the care provided by caregivers.

Target Population: Primary Caregivers of frail, older adults age 60 and older and Grandparents aged 55 and older.

Eligibility Criteria for the Cares Program: In order to be eligible for the Alabama Cares Program, an individual must be a Primary Caregiver of a frail, adult age 60 and older, or a Family Caregiver of a person with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia may be served regardless of age. The program also serves grandparents or other relative caregivers who are 55 and older (not a parent), caring for a child 18 years of age or younger, as well as children of any age with a severe disability. Priority is given to those with the greatest social and economic need and family caregivers providing care and support to persons with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Program Impact: The Alabama Cares Program through the aging network served the needs of 3,583 caregivers in thirteen AAAs across the state in FY 2011, 29,393 units of service were reported in Caregiver Assistance, 4,913units reported in Caregiver Counseling, 130,556 units reported in Caregiver Respite, 13,233 units reported in Caregiver Supplemental Services, and 20,409 units of service in Caregiver Information.

Program Initiatives: The Alzheimer’s Disease Support Service Program (ADSSP) grant administered by the West Alabama Regional Commission Area Agency on Aging, DETA through the Department of Mental Health, Caring Days Adult Day Care, and the University of Alabama Law School worked together to complete the goals and objectives of the project. All collaborated with other community resources to identify individuals and their caregivers with an early onset diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.

Through community initiatives and partnerships, they are providing education on Long-Term Care choices including home and community-based services and caregiver education. Those with an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease along with related disorders and their caregivers were offered the resources to attend four 2-hour workshops. The topics were as follows: Dementia 101, Cognitive Wellness, Caregiving, and Legal & Financial Planning. Participants attending the workshops received a Dementia Education Toolkit. The anticipation is that this model can be replicated in other AAA regions through their Alabama Cares Programs. In addition, this grant initiative supported the HOPE conference held on March 11, 2011, which provided training related to caregiving, dementia-related disorders, and legal assistance information.

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© 2014 Alabama Department of Senior Services