Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Rural Caregiver

November is National Caregivers Month and WOW would like to thank the millions of unpaid Americans across the country who care for elders, children, and disabled persons.
A report done by the University of Iowa and University of Alabama analyzes the difficulty of caring for elders in rural communities and proposes solutions to better support rural family caregivers.

Today, over 25% of elders live in a rural community. In rural settings, health services are less accessible and also more costly. Community-based programs are also scarce, resulting in a disproportionately high number of rural elders relying on nursing home services.

Several pilot programs are underway in Iowa which would provide rural caregivers with a case manager or a Family Caregiver Expert with knowledge on aging issues and community resources. The report proposes service providers must offer caregivers in rural settings improved communication and access to information, better coordination of services, and a consistent relationship to build trust.

Geographic location is critical in determining what an elder needs to age in place. The Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index maps out county-by-county what it takes elders to age in place.

The full report is available online and the National Family Caregivers Association also provides organizations with tips on how to celebrate this commemorative month.

Friday, November 20, 2009

State Partners Visit Washington DC

Last week, the Elder Economic Security Initiative welcomed representatives from each of our twelve states (Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Connecticut, New Jersey, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, and West Virginia) to Washington for the 2009 Elder Economic Security State Partner Summit. The summit featured a variety of workshops on topics including fundraising, coalition building, and federal policy priorities. Also, our state partners had the chance to be filmed discussing the Initiative in their state.

In addition to workshops, our partners spent time on the Hill and met with Senate Special Committee on Aging staffers to hear about their priorities in the coming year. Following the discussion, each representative visited their respective Senators’ offices to discuss the Elder Economic Security Initiative, legislation on the $250 Emergency Payment to Social Security beneficiaries (H.R. 2597 and S. 1685) and the inclusion of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act (H.R. 1721 and S. 697) in the final health care reform bill.

All in all, it was a successful event and provided an opportunity for our state partners to meet one another and share with one another successful strategies in implementing the Initiative. We thank our partners for a wonderful conference and look forward to bringing them back to DC next year!

Friday, November 13, 2009

An Update on WOW's Family Economic Self-Sufficiency Project

Switching gears, this week I want to highlight the work of WOW’s Family Economic Self-Sufficiency (FESS) Project. In late October, the FESS team hosted ten organization’s from across the country at the first-ever, Generating Real Economic Equity Now (GREEN) Institute sponsored by the Ms. Foundation. Each participant engaged in two days of workshops with experts in workforce development on how best to recruit low-income women into the new and expanding sector of green jobs.

The ten organizations were selected by WOW after a quite competitive application process, and will be part of a year-long job recruiting initiative.

“The programs selected for the GREEN Initiative have demonstrated a strong commitment to preparing women for success in a green economy. Their levels of experience and expertise vary, but all represent a community-based coalition dedicated to creating and sustaining quality green training and employment experiences for the women they serve,” said Joan Kuriansky, WOW’s Executive Director.

Rebecca Lurie, Director of Development at the Consortium for Workforce Education concluded the event with an inspiring message of “keep building” and the importance of persevering toward an equal workforce.