In the U.S., roughly 41 million people — including family and “chosen” family — serve as caregivers for an older adult, supporting daily health and functional needs. This important workforce faces physical, emotional, and financial challenges related to their responsibilities, and many state agencies, like Medicaid and Departments of Aging, are seeking to better support them in this work. However, states are often challenged to accurately identify the number, diversity, and unique needs of family caregivers, and to do so in a way that is culturally attuned and supportive.
This webinar, made by possible by The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, highlighted innovative state strategies to identify and reach more family caregivers. Three states participating in the Center for Health Care Strategies’ Helping States Support Families Caring for an Aging America initiative — Iowa, New York, and Texas — described their efforts in helping more caregivers access supports and services.
I. Welcome and Introduction
Speakers: Courtney Roman, MA, Senior Program Officer, CHCS; Rani Snyder, MPA, Vice President, Program, The John A. Hartford Foundation; and Tim Niyonsenga, LMSW, Program Officer, Michigan Health Endowment Fund
C. Roman welcomed participants and R. Snyder and T. Niyonsenga shared their commitment to supporting family caregivers.
II. Overview of State Outreach Strategies
Speaker: Courtney Roman
C. Roman provided an overview of states’ efforts to identify family caregivers, including strategies states are using to extend their reach, particularly to diverse communities.
III. Identifying Family Caregivers of Individuals with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Other Related Diseases in Iowa
Speakers: Kristie Wiltgen, LBSW, Regional Director, Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging and Megan Abramski, Family Caregiver Coordinator, Iowa Department on Aging
K. Wiltgen and M. Abramski described how Iowa identified a gap in service utilization for caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other related diseases via a family caregiver assessment administered by Area Agency on Aging staff. They detailed a resource Iowa developed to close this gap.
IV. Reaching Working Caregivers in New York
Speaker: Deana Prest, Aging Services Program Analyst, New York State Office for the Aging
D. Prest shared how New York State surveyed businesses and their employees to identify and reach working family caregivers. She described how New York’s Caregiver Guide for Businesses was developed and disseminated to employers across the state to help working family caregivers find needed supports.
V. Developing a Caregiver Awareness Campaign in Texas
Speakers: Holly Riley, Aging Services Coordination Director, and Claire Irwin, Age Well Live Well Coordinator, Texas Health and Human Services
H. Riley and C. Irwin outlined Texas’ awareness campaign designed to connect with family caregivers across the state. The campaign uses a tailored approach to reach specific audiences, including older adults and caregivers from marginalized communities.
VI. Moderated Q&A
Moderator: Courtney Roman