OFC to Support Families Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Caregiver Coaching Program to Support Military Families Affected by Hurricane Harvey 

Bob Woodruff Foundation and Qatar Harvey Fund Support Expansion of Operation Family Caregiver into Texas Gulf Coast

October 16, 2019 – AMERICUS, GA – The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) announced today that its signature military caregiving program, Operation Family Caregiver (OFC), will serve military families in the Gulf Coast of Texas, an area still recovering from the impact of Hurricane Harvey, which struck with astounding force in August 2017. OFC provides support to the families of returning service members and veterans. The expansion to this area of the country is supported by a grant awarded by the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which has partnered with the Qatar Harvey Fund to support veterans affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“The Bob Woodruff Foundation has been a committed and powerful partner,” said RCI’s executive director Dr. Jennifer Olsen, “With their continual support, we have expanded our support to military caregivers. We are so pleased to benefit from the foundation’s partnership with the Qatar Harvey Fund and to be able to explore how OFC can help caregivers whose lives have been upended not only by the challenge of caring for a loved one but magnified by a natural disaster.” 

The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) has been an ongoing supporter of OFC and enabled the program’s expansion into the state of Washington in 2017. With this latest grant, BWF and the Qatar Harvey Fund allow OFC to explore further how additional stressors such as national disasters, can exacerbate the challenges faced by military families, and how support systems like OFC can help. 

Since its launch in 2013, OFC has helped more than 1,000 families across the country. After completing the OFC program, caregivers are less depressed and more satisfied with their lives, have fewer health complaints, and are generally more prepared to take care of their families. Caregivers have also reported statistically significant reductions in anxiety among children in the household after completion of the program.

RCI and ALS Association of GA Announce Partnership

Rosalynn Carter Institute and the ALS Association of Georgia Announce Partnership

New Partnership will support those who care for people living with ALS in Georgia

August 1, 2019 – Americus, GA – The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) and The ALS Association of Georgia announced today that the two groups are creating a unique partnership to support those that care for people living with ALS in Georgia. Together the groups will help caregivers with their physical and mental well-being and teach them skills to navigate the challenges of their loved one’s illness.

“ALS is an illness that has an increasing toll on the caregiver as they watch their loved one develop the symptoms of the disease. By extending our programs to ALS caregivers, we continue to fulfill the RCI mission of helping more caregivers in more places but also offer these selfless people support and tools that will help them manage their caregiving journey,” said Dr. Jennifer Olsen, executive director of RCI. “Beyond the direct support of the caregiver, this partnership will help RCI shape our programs to better serve ALS caregivers as well as other neurodegenerative disease caregivers.”

As noted by Sarah Embro, Executive Director of The ALS Association of Georgia, “in alignment with our mission to provide resources and community support services to families living with ALS, we are excited about our new partnership with RCI to provide evidence-based care and support, programming specific to the needs of caregivers of people living with ALS.   Recognizing the needs of caregivers is one aspect of the Georgia Chapter’s holistic care services programming, and this partnership with RCI further strengthens the support we can provide.”

The partnership centers around supporting caregivers for those with ALS using the RCI programs Caring for You, Caring for Me and Operation Family Caregiver,  increasing awareness of the services offered by RCI for all caregivers, and information-sharing to help RCI tailor their programs to address the specific needs of caregivers for people living with ALS.

Operation Family Caregiver coaches family and friends of returning service members and veterans to manage difficult transitions. Veterans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with  ALS as the general public.

The partnership includes:

  • Caring for You, Caring for Me. RCI will train ALS Association of Georgia facilitators to deliver this 10-hour program, which addresses the needs of caregivers by bringing them together in a relaxed setting to discuss common issues, share ideas, and gain a better understanding of each other’s perspective on what it means to be a caregiver for someone living with ALS. The goals of Caring for You, Caring for Me are for caregivers to have the opportunity to:
    •  Gain information on various topics related to caregiving
    • Learn ways of coping with the stresses and strains of being a caregiver
    • Learn what resources are available locally, regionally and nationally
    • Discover ways of working together to reduce frustrations and barriers in the caregiving experience
    • Share common concerns and issues
  • A research partnership that will help RCI determine how to adapt the program specifically to ALS. RCI will fund a graduate fellow to do caregiver specific research on the ALS population.
  • In the longer-term, RCI and The ALS Association of Georgia are hoping to tailor another of RCI’s signature programs, Dealing with Dementia, to the ALS population.
  • RCI and The ALS Association of Georgia will work to support military ALS families through the Operation Family Caregiver program. Veterans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ALS than the general population.
  • The two organizations will share information with each other’s communities and work together to shine a spotlight on ALS caregivers.