Support of Military Families Expands to VA Facilities
Program Reduces Stress Among Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans
Sunday, January 13th, 2019— AMERICUS, GEORGIA — The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) is pleased to announce that Operation Family Caregiver (OFC), its program supporting military families, is now available to the families of veterans and service members in Central Texas; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Tucson, Arizona.
Operation Family Caregiver (OFC) is a proven, evidence-based program that provides support to the families of returning service members and veterans. Specially-trained coaches teach military families the skills they need to overcome unforeseen challenges and cope more effectively with problems they never imagined. Caregivers who have completed the program report being less depressed and more satisfied with their lives, have fewer health complaints, and are generally more prepared to take care of their families. Those caregivers who are parents also report reduced anxiety among their child or children.
This past October, RCI announced a landmark agreement with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish three new OFC sites functioning in partnership with VA medical centers. These new sites include:
- Central Texas, where the program will be located at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System;
- Fayetteville, North Carolina, where the program will be located at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center; and
- Tucson, Arizona, where the program will be located at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System.
This expansion was made possible by the generous support of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.
Texas has the second-largest veteran population in the country, with nearly 1.5 million veterans, or 7.6 percent of the state’s population age 18 and older, according to a report from the Texas Workforce Investment Council. OFC has thrived in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park area since 2015, through Easterseals UCP. The expansion to a second location in the state builds on the interest already generated as well as a real need, as North Carolina has the fourth-largest active duty military population and the eighth-largest veteran population in the country. And Arizona boasts more than 522,000 veterans, with almost one-fifth of them located in Pima County, where Tucson is located.
Since its launch in 2012, OFC has helped nearly 850 families across the country and around the world. While the program can be provided in person at 12 different sites, participants do not need to be in one of these locations; coaches can also meet caregivers via video chat.
“We know that family caregivers are critical members of a veteran’s treatment team, and OFC is doing a fantastic job providing them with all the tools they need to care for their veteran and also for themselves,” said Meg Kabat, the National Director of the Caregiver Support Program for the VA. “It is in all of our interests to make the program an integral part of a veteran’s healthcare.”