Caregivers are most often family members of the person for whom they are caring. Currently there are 44.4 million family caregivers in the United States, and experts anticipate that family caregiving will continue to grow in the years ahead. Because nearly 60 percent of caregivers work and 40 percent have children under the age of 18, it can often result in caregiver stress, burnout, and other health problems. Consequently, it can be a welcome relief to find a program that can help reduce some of the burden.

However, finding a program that is best suited for you and your loved one can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are many programs out there, and some of them were recently recognized for their excellence.

The Best of the Best

The 2008 winners of the National Family Caregiving Awards were announced in Nashville, Tennessee. This event, sponsored by the National Alliance for Caregiving with support from MetLife Foundation, recognizes those caregiver support programs that are the most innovative, effective, and responsive in the communities where they operate. Applicants were judged by a panel of caregiving experts in the categories of caregiver support and education, either as a small or large community.

"We were thrilled to learn about so many excellent programs around the country," said Gail Gibson Hunt, President & CEO, National Alliance for Caregiving. "We hope that other non-profits will be inspired by these programs, by seeing the possibilities and taking on the challenge of improving the level of support to caregivers."

"Family members provide much of the day-to-day care needed by older adults who are frail, impaired, or in poor health, as well as adult children with disabilities who require specialized care," said Sibyl Jacobson, President, MetLife Foundation.

And the Winners Are...

The following programs were recognized for the enormous contribution they make to family caregiving:

  • The Asian Community Center of Sacramento, California: Drop-In Respite and Caregiver Cooperative
  • The Center for Intergenerational Learning, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Time Out Respite Program
  • The Alzheimer's Association-Gulf Coast Chapter, Pinellas Park, Florida: Memory Mobile
  • The National Bone Marrow Transplant Link, Southfield, Michigan: Caregiver's Guide for Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant
  • CancerCare, New York City, New York: Online Caregiver Support Groups
  • Mid-Illinois Senior Services, Inc., Sullivan, Illinois: Old Order Amish Caregiver Program

Seeking Support

If you wish to find family caregiver support programs in your community, contact your local Area Agency on Aging.