Power of Purpose Newsletter – February 24, 2021
Dear Ventura County Community Foundation Family:
I want to first introduce myself. I joined your Ventura County Community Foundation in September of 2020 as the Chief Operating Officer. I am honored to be part of this amazing team and to be serving the community of Ventura County. The Caregiver Initiative is just one of the many programs we are working on to better our community and to support those in need.
In the United States about one in five adults is providing unpaid health or supportive care to someone they love — an aging parent, a family member or child with a disability or a spouse, partner or friend with an illness. According to a 2020 survey by AARP, more than 50 million Americans now serve as unpaid caregivers for adult family members or friends. That number will rise as the baby boomers age. This is mind-boggling and now is our chance to address it!
Caregiving and diseases of aging have been identified as priorities in Ventura County’s Community Health Needs Assessment. In 2019, VCCF partnered with Dr. Jamshid Damooei, Professor of Economics and Director of the Economics Program at the California Lutheran University, to prepare a report on “The Future of Caregiving for an Aging Population: Increasing Community and Economic Vitality in Ventura County” (you can read the full report here).
Following this report, VCCF and the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC) partnered to create a three-year grant opportunity specifically focused on supporting caregivers and integrating them as part of the healthcare team. I invite you to read on to learn more about this project and stay tuned for more updates. We have reached the end of the first year of this program and especially as we face the COVID 19 pandemic, it has never been clearer how important these caregivers are to the health and wellbeing of our community. The service these individuals provide to their loved ones is immeasurable; but that is exactly what we must do together….measure and learn. The Caregiver Initiative is doing just that.
This issue of our newsletter is dedicated to our local caregivers and the organizations and services that support their indispensable work.
Chief Operating Officer
Updates on the Caregiving Initiative
VCCF’s Caregiving Initiative is in its first year of a three-year effort to enhance support for family caregivers caring for adult over age 65. With the Hospital Association of Southern California as a partner, VCCF is providing partial funding for a family caregiver navigator position in each of three hospitals in Ventura County:
- Community Memorial Health System
- Adventist Health Simi Valley
- John’s Regional Medical Center
The goal of the program is to support and integrate family caregivers of high-risk, Medicare patients as members of the healthcare team with a caregiver navigator who assists caregivers through intake, referrals, education, enhanced provider relationships and redesigning procedures within the healthcare system. Through this Initiative, the hope is to reduce hospital readmissions, while showing positive outcomes for family caregivers.
Testimonials from the Field
To highlight the impact of the Caregiver Navigator Project, Community Memorial Health Systems shared the following story:
One of our family caregivers is an 89-year-old woman caring for her 88-year-old husband who has advanced dementia. Due to both her and her husband’s declining health, she would like to place him in a memory care facility to ensure his safety. The couple had been living alone without any support. The Caregiver Navigator (CGN) began working with the couple and was able to connect them with numerous services, such as:
- Referring the couple to A Tender Touch Senior Placement service to help place her husband in a local memory care facility
- Providing psychoeducation about dementia for the family caregiver
- Reaching out to a psychologist and together working to help the caregiver process her loss and grief regarding the placement of her husband
- Connecting the couple to Veteran’s Services of Ventura County
- Working with the caregiver to secure insurance and other benefits that the couple was never able to access previously.
Community Memorial Health Systems has been committed to this program and are hopeful that the data and outcomes will make a significant difference like in the story above in not only our community, but others as this Caregiver Navigator program is expanded.
Are you a Caregiver? AARP has provided a number of online resources for you.
Dementia Friendly Ventura County
Alzheimer’s Disease accounts for 60-80 percent of dementia cases and currently impacts an estimated 610,000 Californians, a number projected to grow to 840,000 by 2025. To help educate the public about having understanding, tolerance, and patience, and to advocate for the growing number of older adults with this disease, the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging (VCAAA) launched Dementia Friendly Ventura County (DFVC).
VCAAA is one of four organizations in California to be certified by Dementia Friendly America, an initiative borne out of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging to address the national and global epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Click below to learn more about DFVC, view resources, and search for DFVC businesses.
From Our Friends at the Blue Shield of California Foundation:
Supporting Care Workers Is Good for the Economy, and Our Health
It’s reported that anthropologist Margaret Mead said the first sign of civilization was the healed femur of a person who lived 15,000 years ago—proof that we had organized ourselves to take care of one another. Care is a societal-level need that is a prerequisite to a healthy economy and an equitable—and therefore healthy—society.
The people who have one of the most important functions in our society, caring for others, help form the foundation of our economy, and yet they often lack workplace protections, living wages, benefits, health insurance, and other basic necessities that enable them to lead healthy and sustainable lives. Under COVID-19, the entire care economy is collapsing, which not only limits our recovery, it leaves care workers―from childcare providers to nursing home aides―with few options.
How do we create a post-pandemic future with an economy that enables all of us, including care workers and their families, to do well? Supporting the care economy and creating pathways for economic mobility is a priority for the Blue Shield of California Foundation. But that is not enough. Another necessary step is to build a sense of connectedness and mutuality with the essential workers who hold our communities, and our economy, together.
Meet Tiffany Elliott!
Tiffany is a Ventura County native who now serves as the Administrative Assistant for the Ventura County Community Foundation. Her interest in community work began as and adolescent when her family would help within the community on weekends. She applied her passion for others in multiple avenues-from serving in clubs for community needs, to interning for an app focused on youth civic engagement.
Welcome to the team, Tiffany!
Learn more about Tiffany here!
Power of Community
Good News from YOUR Ventura County Community
This month we are proud to feature Senior Concerns, a private nonprofit organization dedicated to serving senior community of eastern Ventura County and western Los Angeles County since 1975. Senior Concerns’ focus is on enabling people to proactively and positively plan and provide for their futures and they host a wide range of programs aimed at creating a positive aging experience for family caregivers and for all adults in our community. Ventura County Community Foundation was able to help them continue their mission during the pandemic with a grant from the Rapid Response Fund.
“Thank you for the most recent grant from the Ventura County Community Foundation, and for your continued support of Senior Concerns during these challenging times. We truly appreciate your investment in helping us to provide for senior and family caregivers throughout eastern Ventura County.
With your support, our Home Delivered Meals programs have expanded, and we are now delivering more than 4,000 meals per week to homebound seniors in Thousand Oaks, Newsbury Park, Oak Park, and the Ventura County side of Westlake Village. We are proving more than 100 deliveries per week from our free food pantry of nonperishable items, and our team of vetted volunteers are providing grocery and errand shopping on an ongoing basis.
Our Care Manager and Senior Advocate are fielding hundreds of calls a month from caregivers and seniors who are stressed and needing help. This forced isolation and all the challenges around it have been taking a toll. We have delivered more than 650 COVID-19 Took Kits at no charge to seniors age 75+, along with handmade cloth masks, to help keep seniors safe and healthy.
With your help, we have created a COVID-19 Back Up Plan primer to help seniors and caregivers prepare for a second wave of the virus, as well as an In Home Geriatric Assessment program for homebound seniors who may need additional support.
All of this work is only possible with the help of our committed and generous community. We truly appreciate your support to our mission!”
Click below to check out their video!