Support for Military Families Expands to El Paso, Texas
Program Reduces Stress Among Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans
September 1, 2019 — AMERICUS, GEORGIA — The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) is pleased to announce that Operation Family Caregiver (OFC), its program supporting military families, will now be supporting families of veterans and service members in El Paso, Texas.
Operation Family Caregiver is a proven, evidence-based program that provides support to the families of returning service members and veterans. Specially-trained coaches teach military families the skills they need to overcome unforeseen challenges and cope more effectively with problems they never imagined. Caregivers who have completed the program report being less depressed and more satisfied with their lives, have fewer health complaints, and are generally more prepared to take care of their families. Those caregivers who are parents also report reduced anxiety among their child or children.
Last fall, RCI announced a landmark agreement with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish three new OFC sites functioning in partnership with VA medical centers. In El Paso, the program is located at the El Paso VA Health Care System. In a move from Tucson, Arizona, to El Paso, the new coach will be working with caregivers in the area referred by the El Paso VA, as well as military spouses and other caregivers from across the country via phone or video conference. In addition to the new OFC site in Texas, OFC serves military families at VA facilities in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Central Texas. This expansion was made possible by the generous support of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.
Texas was a natural location for OFC’s expansion, which has helped nearly 1,000 families since its launch in 2012. According to a report from the Texas Workforce Investment Council that was updated in 2019, Texas has the second-largest veteran population in the country, with just over 1.46 million veterans, or 7.0 percent of the state’s population age 18 and older. In El Paso County, the veteran population was more than 66,000 in 2017. Approximately 17 percent of the Texas veteran population is Hispanic, and the new coach will be able to provide support in both Spanish and English.
“Being able to seek help in one’s preferred language makes a huge difference in the level of comfort,” said Dr. Jennifer Olsen, RCI’s executive director. “We have made a concerted effort to deliver Operation Family Caregiver to Spanish-speaking families, and we’re so happy to be able to do so with this expansion to El Paso.”