Three staff members from the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities were invited to present a session at the 37th annual conference and trade show of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) held July 7-11 in Denver, Colo. A request to participate is considered recognition of the high quality of programs being offered by an agency on aging.
Sandy Berkeley, director of the Maryland Access Point/Information and Assistance program, and Mary Chaput, director, National Family Caregiver and Respite Care programs, spoke on “Making the Link for Family Caregivers” with the assistance of Jennifer Sloan, special projects coordinator.
Unpaid caregiver services, estimated to be worth $257 billion a year, provide elderly and frail family members with the help they need for daily living, says Ms. Chaput. But this value doesn’t take into consideration the immense cost to the caregivers’ health. Many caregivers are unaware of resources and services provided by their local area agencies on aging to assist them.
The “Making the Link” project developed by the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities strives to raise awareness among physicians, emergency personnel, and long-term care staff–and the general public–about care giving issues and network services. Medical, emergency, and social work personnel who participate in “Making the Link” receive concise and easy-to-access information, allowing them to provide resources to caregivers in a quick, efficient manner. The project can be easily replicated by other area agencies on aging, Ms. Chaput says.
Each year the N4A Conference and Trade Show showcases the most innovative policies, programs, and services that assist older adults, persons with disabilities, and their caregivers. Sessions this year also included information on the Older Americans Act reauthorization legislation, care transition programs, Medicaid managed care, private pay and cost-sharing programs, use of technology and social media, and new partnerships with health providers, among others.
For information, call the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities at 410-222-4464, Ext. 3043.