North Carolina, January 18, 2016
Easter Seals UCP Brings Proven Military Caregiver Support Program to North Carolina
Rosalynn Carter Institute Expands Program Proven
to Reduce Caregiver Depression and Raise Satisfaction with Life
AMERICUS, GEORGIA — The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving’s (RCI) signature military caregiver program is expanding to Northern Virginia, North Carolina, and Los Angeles, California. With this latest growth, Operation Family Caregiver continues to pursue its strategy of serving families in states with the highest concentration of service members and veterans.
Operation Family Caregiver (OFC) is 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.
“Our military has been on the battlefield for longer than ever before, and there are consequences to that,” said RCI’s executive director Dr. Leisa Easom. “When they come home, especially with injuries, they lean heavily on their husbands and wives, parents, battle buddies, whoever can help take care of them. And that takes a lot out of a person. Being a caregiver is not easy.”
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.
Operation Family Caregiver launched in 2012 with catalytic funding from Johnson & Johnson. After an initial pilot launch in 2012, it has expanded in each subsequent year and earlier this year announced a partnership with Blue Star Families that will add two additional sites. With the latest expansion, Operation Family Caregiver will be serving military families in 12 locations by the beginning of next year, including:
· Johnstown, Pa.
· San Diego, Calif.
· Killeen, Texas (Fort Hood)
· Buffalo, N.Y.
· Tallahassee, Fla.
· Augusta, Ga.
· Houston, Texas
· Washington, D.C.
· San Antonio, Texas
· Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia
· North Carolina
· Los Angeles, Calif.
Brenda Monforti, Operation Family Caregiver Coach for Easter Seals 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.”
Since its launch, OFC has helped more than 150 caregivers from across the country. 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 Easter Seals 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.Operation Family Caregiver in North Carolina is accepting caregiver applications now. For more information, contact Brenda Monforti, Operation Family Caregiver Coach at Easter Seals UCP North Carolina. Brenda.Monforti@eastersealsucp.com 919-624-6598
About the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving
Located in Americus, Ga., the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving is a division of Georgia Southwestern State University. RCI was established in 1987 in honor of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, a GSW alumna who serves as president of the Institute's Board of Advisors. RCI supports family and professional caregivers through advocacy, education, research, and service. In 2012, with support from Johnson & Johnson, RCI established Operation Family Caregiver, which coaches the families of newly returning service members and veterans to manage the difficulties they face when they return home.
For additional information about the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, visit www.rosalynncarter.org. For more information about Operation Family Caregiver, visit www.operationfamilycaregiver.org.