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The AARP Foundation Receives Grant to Help Health Care Workers Better Support Family Caregivers

July 6, 2010

The AARP Foundation announced a new project to help health professionals partner more effectively with family caregivers. The effort, funded by a grant from the Jacob & Valeria Langeloth Foundation and in partnership with NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) and the American Journal of Nursing, will create educational materials and toolkits to help nurses and social workers provide more effective support for family caregivers with a particular focus on helping these professionals better serve the needs of diverse communities. The project will help the 52 million Americans who provide unpaid care to family members each year. “This grant will allow AARP Foundation to continue its effort to find innovative ways to help the millions of family caregivers in this country who play such a critical role in the lives of older Americans,” said David P. Whitehead, AARP Foundation Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer.

“Too often, family caregivers don’t receive the help and support they need,” added AARP Senior Vice President Susan Reinhard. “Working in collaboration with nurses and social workers, we can improve the lives of both the caregivers and their loved ones.” Reinhard heads AARP’s Public Policy Institute, which has agreed to provide support to AARP Foundation under this grant. The 2008 report, “State of the Science: Professional Partners Supporting Family Caregiving,” argued that the relationships between and among nurses, social workers, patients and the friends and family who care for them must change as Americans live longer and need more long-term care. In a 2009 survey by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, AARP noted only a third of caregivers said they would turn to a health care provider for information about taking care of their loved one. The Langeloth Foundation grant will allow AARP to create new resources for nurses and social workers to help them coordinate care with a family caregiver. The grant will also allow AARP Foundation and AARP to test family-centered practices in select hospitals.