Catholic Charities receives $100K grant for senior caregiver toolkit

Livingston County Catholic Charities (LCCC), in collaboration with Altarum’s Program to Improve Eldercare (PIE), received a $100,000 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to create a MI Caregiver Corps toolkit.

Altarum, in working with LCCC the last two years overseeing evaluations of grantees from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, was impressed with the services LCCC provides to seniors, families and caregivers through LCCC’s senior service programs and expressed an interest in collaborating to create a toolkit that can be shared nationwide to aide caregivers. As the population of older adults needing assistance in Michigan, and nationally, accelerates, communities are being challenged to develop innovative methods for engaging and more fully developing local resources and programs. LCCC and Altarum will work together to create and test a comprehensive MI Caregiver Corps toolkit to help local organizations recruit, assess, train and sustain volunteer caregivers who will be a critical part of the workforce needed to support the growing needs of the aging population.

The aim is to ease the community stress of an inadequate caregiving workforce and the family stress of the need for respite from eldercare by standardizing and promoting the development of high-quality, low or no cost supports. The MI Caregiver Corps training will prepare volunteers to provide in-home care to frail elders who need assistance with Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (preparing meals, light housework, transportation, shopping, etc.), but not personal care to assist with Activities of Daily Living (bathing, showering, toileting, dressing, etc.). This aim of the toolkit is to create volunteer programs to provide support services that volunteers will be comfortable performing and that will strengthen the entire care system by supporting the caregivers, ultimately allowing the elder to remain living at home or with family, thus deferring the cost of assisted living.

“We are very excited to assist LCCC in development and testing of this important model to aid elders and people with disabilities in Livingston County,” said Sarah Slocum, Altarum Eldercare specialist. “The Federal Administration for Community Living released a federal funding opportunity to take these ideas and apply them across the nation. LCCC is a trailblazer in creating the Michigan Caregiver Corps to help families, augment paid care, and improve quality of life for the people they will serve.”

In this partnership, Altarum will serve as the primary writer and will utilize LCCC’s existing Volunteer Caregiver program to learn from and expand upon, in addition to other researched methods. The two organizations will engage an advisory group that will meet quarterly, made up of national and local experts in volunteer programs, community service provision and caregiving. LCCC will then use the toolkit to recruit, assess and train 15 volunteers who will help to test and provide feedback on the toolkit, allowing Altarum to modify and enhance it. Upon successful completion of the MI Caregiver Corps toolkit, it will be licensed as a Creative Commons product on various interested internet sites in print and as a YouTube video and will be freely available to all interested organizations.

LCCC will begin recruiting volunteers for this project in January 2020. If you would be interested in participating in this exciting study, contact Katie or Jamie at (517) 545-5944, to join our list for a callback in January.

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The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.