Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) face a surging tide of caregivers in need of support services, particularly as the Boomer generation enters into its later years. Knowing what caregivers need and which partnerships meet those needs effectively can help community planners and local governments save time and money. To assess the effectiveness and frequency of AAA partnerships in meeting the needs of caregivers, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) and the Scripps Gerontology Center conducted a survey to 629 AAA’s nationwide gathering data from 57.3 percent responses.
AAA has determined that partnerships with various organizations (on average ten per AAA) provide “better access to programs, better information on community caregiving resources, better coordination of services, and training programs regarding caregiver support.” Developing partnerships with organizations still require time and investment by AAA staff, who play a central and pivotal role.
Other report highlights include:
- The greatest needs expressed by caregivers are information and referral (I&R) services, which are also the most common services provided through partnerships with AAA’s (94.2 percent) (page 10). Other services include support groups and educational services. Local AAA evidence-based services, such as their popular “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” program, also provide educational/training opportunities for caregivers.
- The majority of AAA caregiving program funding comes from the National Family Caregiving Support Program (page 7). Because AAA’s are constantly evaluating partnership effectiveness and seeking additional funding sources, there is great opportunity at the regional level for initiatives with local governments. Future initiatives may include transportation and/or corporate elder care services (page 11).
- In the survey, AAA’s were asked to identify their top five areas of “training or assistance they would find most useful to enhance their caregiving programs” (page 14). These included greater I&R services, “developing better outreach strategies to caregivers, developing strategies for working with employers…and reaching (ethnic and geographically) diverse populations” (page 14).
How to Use
The survey report provides local governments and planners with information that can lead to a better understanding of local caregiving needs, as well as opportunities for developing new initiatives. Knowing how to collaborate with a regional AAA can reduce redundancy at the local level. That, in turn, leads to efficient fiscal and community planning.
View full report: Building Capacity to Support Family Caregivers – 2011 (PDF – 319 KB)