RCI and WWP to Create Connections for Military Families

Rosalynn Carter Institute and Wounded Warrior Project to Create Connections for Military Families 

Operation Caregiver Support to build health, strength, and resilience of caregivers supporting wounded warriors

The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) is proud to announce a powerful new partnership with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) that will benefit caregivers in military families. Informed by nine years of experience coaching military caregivers through its Operation Family Caregiver (OFC) program, RCI’s partnership with WWP will apply lessons learned and develop a new support program for family members. 

The new program, named Operation Caregiver Support, combines RCI’s hallmark one-on-one coaching with a group component. Both the family support members WWP serves and current OFC participants enrolled in this program will have the opportunity to connect with caregiving peers, build a community of support, and learn new skills in an interactive, virtual group setting.

“To maximize the reach of RCI, we have built a network of phenomenal partners, and this exciting new initiative with Wounded Warrior Project is a perfect example,” said Dr. Jennifer Olsen, Executive Director of RCI. “Wounded Warrior Project is a name and a network that military families trust and respect, and through this partnership, we will be able to reach, support, and empower more veterans and caregivers than ever before.”

“I was a caregiver and I know what it takes to be there for someone you care about. I’m also far too familiar with what it means when our military members come home injured,” said COL(Ret.) George L. FredrickRCI Board President. “Wounded Warrior Project is an exemplar in supporting military families, and it is an honor to work together to mitigate challenges military caregivers face.” 

OFC began almost a decade ago, and more than 1,110 military families have benefited from the program to date. Specially trained coaches provide free, confidential, and one-on-one support to families of returning service members and veterans to help them find strength through their journey so they feel fully capable of living their best lives, regardless of what life throws at them. The program has proven to reduce caregiver depression and burden as well as health complaints, and caregivers report that children in the home have less anxiety. Caregivers who complete the OFC program feel more confident in their ability to manage day-to-day challenges, resulting in enhanced satisfaction with life. 

There is no “one size fits all” approach to caregiver support. In creating an open and ongoing, bi-monthly peer support program through Operation Caregiver Support, as well as delivering individual coaching through OFC to WWP’s family support members, this partnership provides caregivers with the chance to engage and take advantage of programming at their own pace and comfort level. The partnership will allow WWP and RCI to learn together what approaches – whether individual, in group settings, or a combination of both — yield the greatest positive impact on veteran caregiver communities. 

“Reaching out to ask for help takes courage,” said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington, who served with COL. Fredrick. “But when the warriors and caregivers we serve put themselves out there, they grow stronger. In partnering with the Rosalynn Carter Institute, we’re connecting veteran families with resources that can help them take care of themselves and improve their quality of life.”  

Registration for Operation Caregiver Support is currently open to current or past OFC participants who care for post-9/11 injured veterans. 

RCI and Blue Star Families Explore Caregiving in Military Families

Rosalynn Carter Institute and Blue Star Families to Explore Caregiving in Military Families

Learnings from 2020 Military Family Lifestyle Survey Will Provide Insights for Caregiver Report

AMERICUS, GEORGIA – The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) is teaming up with Blue Star Families to promote and expand upon the 2020 Military Family Lifestyle Survey, an annual survey that analyzes the challenges and opportunities faced by military families. Prior to the survey going live, RCI worked with Blue Star Families to add new questions to better understand the experience of caregivers within military families.

The survey is administered in collaboration with Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families and is through October 16, 2020. In addition to releasing a comprehensive report in early 2021, Blue Star Families has committed to working with RCI on a follow-up report that will delve more deeply into the caregiver experience, whether they’re caring for a veteran or another loved one.

“We know that military families are grappling with a great deal of stress, especially during this year of uncertainty because of the pandemic. And we know that in many military families, caregiving is one of those additional burdens, but there is so much we do not know about who they are caring for and what supports they need,” said Dr. Jennifer Olsen, Executive Director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving. “We’re proud to partner with Blue Star Families, which has an impressive track record of learning from military families, and we will use what we discover about the experiences of caregivers in military families to drive change and progress in public policy.” 

Serving military families is a priority for RCI, which launched its signature military program, Operation Family Caregiver (OFC), nearly nine years ago. OFC provides free and confidential coaching to empower the families of returning service members and veterans to make decisions that will lead to improvements in their own lives. The program is tailored to the unique needs of military families. It helps caregivers find strength through their journey, so they feel fully capable of living their best lives, regardless of what life throws at them.

Blue Star Families knows well the significant role that caregivers play in the health and resilience of a military family. The organization was founded in 2009 by military spouses, a population that often provides care to veterans and service members returning home with both visible and invisible wounds. The annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey is its flagship initiative, and this marks its 11th year.

“The 2019 Military Family Lifestyle Survey pointed to family stability as a top issue for both military spouses and service members, but we have much more to learn about what that means and why it is the case,” said Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families. “We are excited to partner with the Rosalynn Carter Institute to identify what caregivers in military families need most.”