Operation Family Caregiver (OFC) is a program of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving. It's a proven, evidence-based program that provides support to the families of newly returning service members and veterans. It is free, confidential, and tailored to each individual family. It is the only program like it serving military families. Since 2001, the United States has sent more than 2.5 million men and women to Iraq and Afghanistan, and more than 50,000 have been wounded. Beyond those visible injuries, nearly one-third of returning service members have a mental health condition or experienced a traumatic brain injury.
Many spouses, siblings, and parents are thrust into the unexpected role of caregiver when their loved one comes home. Operation Family Caregiver provides caregiver “coaches” who teach military families the skills they need to overcome unforeseen challenges and cope more effectively with problems they never imagined. The program can be provided in person or via Skype.
In 2012, Operation Family Caregiver launched funding from Johnson & Johnson. Since then, the program has expanded and now serves military families in 12 locations including North Carolina.
Brenda Monforti, Operation Family Caregiver Coach for Easterseals UCP says, “Operation Family Caregiver (OFC) is a confidential, free, one-on-one coaching program designed to bring problem-solving training and resources to the caregiver of a service member/ veteran. OFC not only helps manage today's difficulties, but it also helps caregivers lay a strong foundation so they can meet their own needs over the long term.”
She explains, “Caregivers report being more satisfied with their lives, feel better prepared to take care of their families and report fewer health complaints. A military caregiver can be a spouse, parent, other family member, battle buddy, friends & neighbors who provide a broad range of care and assistance of current or former military service members with a disabling injury or illness (physical or mental) that was incurred during military service.”
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.
Like all OFC sites, the new programs will be trained by RCI but managed by local organizations. In North Carolina, OFC will be implemented by Easterseals UCP, which operates across the state but will focus particularly on central to eastern North Carolina. This part of the state is home to high populations of active military and post 9/11 veterans. Nearly 200,000 veterans are estimated in the counties surrounding Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Fort Bragg, and Pope Air Force Base.
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