When Soldiers Are Wounded in War Their Families Become Caregivers; National Family Caregivers Association Launches Project to Share Stories
KENSINGTON, Md., March 27 (AScribe Newswire) -- Whether due to the ravages of war, chronic illness, or aging, millions of people become family caregivers for loved ones. The National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) is asking them to help paint a picture of caregiving in America by sharing their stories with the National Family Caregiver Story Project. Partners on the project include: the U.S. Administration on Aging, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Generations United. The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation has provided a grant to support the project.

This new web-based program serves multiple purposes. For family caregivers it provides an outlet for expressing their thoughts and feelings, validates experiences, and lessens isolation. It creates the opportunity to enumerate unmet needs, whether for financial assistance with the cost of incontinent supplies or for a bi-weekly visit to church. For advocates the database of first person accounts fleshes out meaningful, but dry, statistics and can be easily sorted and retrieved to educate and inform policy makers, the media, and healthcare professionals.

Our healthcare system relies heavily on family caregivers to provide more than 80 percent of all home care services. Their value to our economy has been estimated at $257 billion annually. But little is done to train, support, and aid these conscripted healthcare workers, who the nation relies on more and more each year, as the costs of professional care goes up and the number of nurses and homecare aides goes down. "It isn't realistic to think we will ever have a million-caregiver march on Washington to bring these issues to the country's attention" says

NFCA's president/co-founder Suzanne Mintz. "A virtual march of first-person stories is the next best thing," she adds.

All family caregivers are encouraged to submit their stories, and organizations that work with caregivers are encouraged to be part of the project as well. It's simple to participate. Caregivers can easily enter their stories by going to the NFCA website www.nfcacares.org and clicking on the story project icon at the far right of the screen.

A "How-To" Guide for professionals is also available and can be downloaded from the site. The first 1,500 family caregivers who submit their story online will receive a week-at-a-time medication container, as a thank you gift, compliments of Alimed. Only NFCA and its partners will have direct access to the stories, and only caregivers who give their permission will have their stories shared with members of the press.

The National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) is a grassroots organization created to enable, educate, support, and speak up for the millions of Americans who care for a chronically ill, aged, or disabled loved one. NFCA reaches across the boundaries of different diagnoses, different relationships, and different life stages to address the common needs and concerns of all family caregivers. It is the one place that all family caregivers can call "home."

The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF) is committed to funding research that develops treatments and cures for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury and other central nervous system disorders. The Foundation also vigorously works to improve the quality of life for people living with disabilities through its grants program, paralysis resource center and advocacy efforts. The NFCA story project was funded through the Quality of Life Grants program.

For information on NFCA's story project partners, go to the following websites.

U.S. Administration on Aging: www.aoa.gov

Generations United: www.gu.org

National MS Society: www.nmss.org

Paralyzed Veterans of America: www.pva.org

For more information about NFCA or the project, contact Daniel Johnson, daniel@nfcacares.org or 1-800-896-3650.

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Media Contact: Daniel Johnson, National Family Caregivers Association, 800-896-3650; daniel@nfcacares.org


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