Imagine a call from your elderly parent with news of a serious illness and a request that you help with care and support. How will you prepare for your new role as caregiver, one that could last months or even years?
With funding from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, EDC is developing a program to support patients and families as they cope with an illness that requires continual care. The program, consisting of a series of educational seminars, will be offered through employers, religious institutions, and social service agencies.
To create a program that meets caregivers’ needs, EDC’s Ned Rimer has hosted dozens of conversations in Boston and Florida with people who have cared for their aging parents. Together, they have explored such questions as, What have they learned from the experience? What skills and resources were helpful? What would they suggest to others?
Seminar participants will become part of an informal group of knowledgeable area residents—known as the Chronic Care Community Corps—who are familiar with local services and can offer guidance to other members of the community for navigating health care options.
“As more people begin caring for elderly parents and struggle to make sense of the health care system, a strong community resource will fill a growing need,” says Rimer. “We want to mobilize volunteers and existing resources to help families through a most challenging time.”
The program will be piloted in Boston beginning this fall.
Originally published on October 27, 2009