Families, friends, and neighbors serve as the backbone of the long-term care system in NH. Caregivers provide support to seniors through a variety of tasks including hands-on care, driving someone to medical and dental appointments, grocery shopping, and performing household tasks.
It is estimated that there are more than 170,000 caregivers in New Hampshire and each year they provide more than $2.3 billion in unpaid care and supportive services for loved ones. Caregiving is both rewarding and challenging. The experience of caregiving is often seen as a complex position that involves making a difference in a loved one’s life through the caregiving journey, while simultaneously feeling physically, emotionally, and financially burdened.
To provide a supportive environment for family caregivers, the NH Alliance for Health Aging launched the Caregiving Workgroup in 2016. The work of this group has culminated across three strategy areas:
Strategy 1: Increase caregiver friendly workplaces.
The workgroup has developed an outreach plan to engage business stakeholders on the importance of caregiver friendly employment strategies. This outreach plan includes providing education and awareness on how employers can support caregivers in the workplace, the return on investment of providing caregiver friendly business practices, and resources for both small and large businesses. To date, the workgroup has hosted several outreach events including a Forum on the Future meeting and a webinar called Caregiving Friendly Business Practices that targeted Human Resource Professionals.
Strategy 2: Increase caregiver self-identification and awareness.
The workgroup created a caregiver self-identification flyer that outlines typical caregiving tasks and available resources. The workgroup is working to disseminate the flyer through partnering with various organizations across the state including New Hampshire Medical Society, Municipality Association, ServiceLink, AARP, and many others.
Strategy 3: Act as a Convener on Caregiving Issues.
In conjunction with the above two strategies, the workgroup has hosted multiple convenings on the issue of caregiving. As outlined above, two events were hosted that focused on business stakeholders. The workgroup also convened service providers twice to share information and resources about work each organization is conducting, to reduce duplication of efforts, identify gaps in services, and align current work.