July 22, 2008

The National Alliance for Caregiving and MetLife Foundation Honor Innovative Programs That Make a Difference

NASHVILLE, Tenn., July 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Representatives from leading aging organizations and agencies convened today in Nashville, TN to honor the 2008 winners of the National Family Caregiving Awards, sponsored by the National Alliance for Caregiving, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition of national organizations, with support from MetLife Foundation. The event recognized community-based programs that support family caregivers who provide assistance to older adults. The programs were recognized for their innovativeness, effectiveness, and responsiveness to caregiver needs in the communities where they operate. A special seed grant also was awarded to one program meeting the needs of older persons caring for adult children with disabilities.

Family caregiving is the underpinning of the country's healthcare system, with a value to society estimated at $306 billion per year-more than the value of home care and nursing care combined. Experts anticipate that family caregiving will continue to grow in the decades ahead. Currently, there are over 44.4 million family caregivers in the United States. Nearly 60% of caregivers work and nearly 40% of caregivers have children under the age of 18. Managing the competing priorities of work and family, in addition to the caregiving responsibility, is stressful, costly, and draining, and can exact a heavy toll, resulting in caregiver stress, burnout, and other health problems.

"We were thrilled to learn about so many excellent programs around the country that have found innovative and effective ways of supporting the efforts of the family caregivers," said Gail Gibson Hunt, President & CEO, National Alliance for Caregiving. "Thousands of nonprofit agencies across the United States provide these sorts of services, and we hope that other non-profits will be inspired by these programs, by seeing the possibilities and taking on the challenge of improving the level of support to caregivers."

This year's award winners are:

-- The Asian Community Center of Sacramento, CA for the Drop-In Respite and Caregiver Cooperative, in which caregiver-volunteers "earn and buy" respite time with other Co-op members, sharing their caregiving methods and engaging in self-learning, while building a community resource.

-- The Center for Intergenerational Learning, Temple University in Philadelphia, PA for its Time Out Program, which mobilizes college students to provide in-home respite services to caregiving families throughout the Philadelphia area.

-- The Alzheimer's Association-Gulf Coast Chapter in Pinnellas Park, FL for Memory Mobile, the only mobile Alzheimer's outreach, support, and caregiver education service delivery vehicle in the country targeting isolated, rural families dealing with, or at risk for Alzheimer's disease.

-- The National Bone Marrow Transplant Link in Southfield, MI for Caregiver's Guide for Bone Marrow. Stem Cell Transplant, which was developed to educate loved ones about their vital role through the experiences and perspectives of fellow caregivers.

-- CancerCare in New York, NY for Online Caregiver Support Groups, which provides virtual 24/7 access to support and information for people across the country caring for a loved one with cancer.

-- Mid-Illinois Senior Services, Inc. of Sullivan, IL for Old Order Amish Caregiver Program, which provides support, counseling and training -- with intense emphasis on cultural sensitivity to the Amish beliefs and ways -- while overcoming obstacles that have kept the Amish from seeking help outside their faith.

Non-profit organizations from around the country competed for the National Family Caregiving Awards in the categories of caregiver support and education, either as a small community (with a population of 100,000 or fewer) or a large community (100,001 or more). The non-profit honorees were awarded $25,000 to continue and enhance their support for caregivers. Applicants were asked to demonstrate how they are innovative, effective, replicable, based upon research and responsive to diverse populations. Applicants were then judged by a panel of caregiving experts, who selected the six programs to be honored.

A growing number of older adults are responsible for the care of their physically, mentally, or developmentally disabled adult child. To meet this need, a new $5,000 seed grant was established to recognize one outstanding program that addresses the needs of older persons caring for their adult children with disabilities. The seed grant was awarded to The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Aging with Developmental Disabilities, University of Illinois at Chicago, for The Future is Now!, a peer support educational intervention to support aging caregivers and adults with developmental disabilities in planning for the future.

Two programs were also given honorable mention awards: Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut in Danbury, CT for Healing Hearts Center for Grieving Children and Families; and Lifespan in Rochester, NY for Future Care Planning Services.

"Family members provide much of the day-to-day care needed by older adults who are frail, impaired, or in poor health, as well as adult children with disabilities who require specialized care," said Sibyl Jacobson, President, MetLife Foundation. "We recognize these programs for the enormous contribution they make to family caregiving."

MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 by MetLife to carry on its long-standing tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. The Foundation has been involved in a variety of aging-related initiatives addressing issues of caregiving, intergenerational activities, mental fitness, health and wellness programs and civic involvement. More information about the Foundation is available at http://www.metlife.org/.

Established in 1996, The National Alliance for Caregiving is a non-profit coalition of national organizations focusing on issues of family caregiving. Alliance members include grassroots organizations, professional associations, service organizations, disease-specific organizations, a government agency, and corporations. The Alliance was created to conduct research, do policy analysis, develop national programs and increase public awareness of family caregiving issues. Recognizing that family caregivers provide important societal and financial contributions toward maintaining the well-being of those they care for, the Alliance's mission is to be the objective national resource on family caregiving with the goal of improving the quality of life for families and care recipients. To learn more about the National Alliance for Caregiving, visit http://www.caregiving.org/.

For more information on the competition and detailed profiles of the award winners, go to the website of the National Alliance for Caregiving, http://www.caregiving.org/.

   Contact:   Sarah Faria                     Kathy Cameron,   MetLife Foundation              National Alliance for Caregiving   (401) 827-3906                  (703) 585-6607   [email protected]              [email protected]  

MetLife Foundation

CONTACT: Sarah Faria of MetLife Foundation, +1-401-827-3906,[email protected]; or Kathy Cameron of National Alliance for Caregiving,+1-703-585-6607, [email protected]

Web site: http://www.metlife.com/http://www.caregiving.org/