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.

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