AMERICUS (Nov. 4, 2015) — Named in honor of a great humanitarian, the Rosalynn Carter Leadership in Caregiving Award is the highest award given in the caregiving field. This year’s winner, AARP, was announced at the Rosalynn Carter Institute’s (RCI) National Summit and was presented with a $15,000 cash award, generously donated by Johnson & Johnson.
“AARP has demonstrated leadership at the highest level by elevating caregiving to be one of their top priorities, supported by research, campaign communications and advocacy work,” said Leisa Easom, Ph.D., executive director of the RCI.
In October 2010, the RCI released “Averting the Caregiving Crisis: Why We Must Act Now,” a position paper outlining twelve recommendations for addressing our nation’s caregiving crisis. To sharpen the focus, they restated the original recommendations as six strategic initiatives in “Averting the Caregiving Crisis: An Update.” The Rosalynn Carter Leadership in Caregiving Award is given to the individual or organization that has taken concrete action in making these initiatives a reality. Here is a snapshot of the work AARP has achieved in three of the six initiatives:
AARP has published five stellar publications in their research efforts: “Home Alone: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Care,” “The Aging of the Baby Boom and the Growing Care Gap: A Look at Future Declines in the Availability of Family Caregivers,” “Caregiving in the US,” “Valuing the Invaluable: Undeniable Progress but Big Gaps Remain” and “Raising Expectations: The Long Term Services and Support Scorecard.”
Beginning in 2012, AARP and the Ad Council undertook a public service campaign to raise awareness among caregivers that there is a community and resources available to help them better take care of themselves and the ones they love. This hugely successful campaign continues today.
AARP’s advocacy efforts have been at both the state and national levels. AARP is working at the state level to enact the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act to help family caregivers as their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home. AARP has also urged Congress to pass the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act. The new Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) Caucus is focused on bringing greater visibility to the value of and need to support family caregivers. Lastly, AARP has launched a new initiative, “I Heart Caregivers,” to recognize family caregivers who provide care to their family and friends.
In addition to the cash award, AARP also received a beautiful statuette commissioned by former RCI Board member, Val Halamandaris, and executed by renowned sculptor Frank Eliscu, designer of the Heisman Trophy. The AARP Foundation states they will use the award money they received to support work on senior isolation in their continuing efforts to improve the lives of family caregivers, their loved ones and all older Americans.
About the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving
Located in Americus, Ga., the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving is a division of Georgia Southwestern State University. The RCI was established in 1987 in honor of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, a GSW alumna who serves as president of the Institute's Board of Advisors. RCI establishes local, state, national and international partnerships committed to building quality, long- term, home and community-based services. It advocates for evidence-based research to address the strain and burdens associated with family, volunteer and professional caregiving. In 2013, with support from Johnson & Johnson, RCI established Operation Family Caregiver, which coaches the families of newly returning service members and veterans to manage the difficulties they face when they come home. For additional information about the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving and its programs, visit www.rosalynncarter.org or call (229) 928-1234.
Photo: Rosalynn Carter (second from right) and Leisa Easom (right) stand with the 2015 Rosalynn Carter Leadership in Caregiving Award recipient from AARP, Bob Stephen, and J&J Exec. Dir. Of Worldwide Contributions Bonnie Petrauskas.
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