Family Caregiver Policy Program
Reba Cornman, MSW, Director of the Graduate School Geriatrics and Gerontology Education and Research Program, organized The Family Caregiver Policy Program on October 19 as an opportunity for key stakeholders to discuss and advance public policy. This program brought together students, faculty, researchers, practitioners, community organizations, and caregivers to discuss the ways policies and programs can recognize and support the diverse needs of family caregivers.
Lynn Friss Feinberg, MSW, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor for AARP’s Public Policy Institute, provided the keynote presentation, reviewing current legislative action and policy development aimed at recognizing and supporting the needs of caregivers. A call to action for the integration of interdisciplinary policy, research, and clinical practice was relevant and applicable across aging services. A panel of caregivers, advocates, and educators representing Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and family caregivers in our community facilitated a comprehensive discussion on the diverse needs of family caregivers. The panel stressed the quality of life, health, and economic benefits to supporting caregivers of older adults through policies and programs.
The program emphasized that current policy and clinical practice development can resemble a silo and this format is not adequate to address the current and changing needs of aging populations. Rather, interdisciplinary training and collaborations among policy makers, clinicians, and researchers are needed to promote the most effective advancements in aging. The broader spectrum encompassed by interdisciplinary training is encouraging those across disciplines to be able to learn how to communicate, translate, and advocate for older adults and their family caregivers.
Shae Allen, MSW, LCSW-C, C-SWHC
University of Maryland, Baltimore
Doctoral Program in Gerontology
Caregiver Support Coordinator – Department of Veteran’s Affairs/Baltimore VA Medical Center