Oct. 21, 2021
Two UNCC professors this morning outlined a program of virtual sessions, open to both paid and volunteer caregivers, designed to boost the health and spirits of those carrying the load of caring for the infirm.
Sociologists Dr. Julian Montoro-Rodriguez and Dr. Kendra Jason outlined the many community groups they are partnering with to spread information about the sessions, which are free. The series of six two-hour sessions, scheduled around caregivers’ schedules, cover topics listed in the slides below the video.
The UNCC effort has a research component: Based on before- and after-surveys, the professors will gauge what parts of the programs caregivers found most valuable to them.
After a year or so, the research will phase out, but Montoro-Rodriguez expressed hope that UNCC would be able to continue to support caregivers in some way. He also said he was pressing area health systems to incorp0rate the caregiver supports that the research shows are successful into their programs that now mostly focus on patient medications.
Enough participants brought personal experience with the physical and emotional load created by caregiving that there was little delving into the need for intervention and support. But discussion touched frequently on relevant cultural differences; e.g., large vs. small families; extended families residing local vs. scattered globally. And Dr. Montoro-Rodriguez addressed the elephant in the room – the huge Boomer generation that, he said, leaves society with far fewer caregivers than the number of elders needing the care. The session mentioned federal programs and private long-term-care insurance policies that assist families with caregiving expenses. But it did not delve into caregiver salary issues.
During the Q&A, a Forum participant asked for information about the prospects for passage of the “Better Care Better Jobs Act” pending in Congress. Dr. Montoro-Rodriguez responded Wednesday by suggesting this article written by Kristin Easterling, managing editor of HomeCare Magazine. In it, Easterling projects that the bill will be included in the budget reconciliation bill.