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The Rosalynn Carter Interview (Page 2 of 4)

An Interview with Rosalynn Carter

 

Gary Barg: You came out with a position paper, Averting the Caregiving Crisis: Why We Must Act Now, two years ago. I was wondering if you’ve seen any positive action since the release of that paper?

Rosalynn Carter: One thing is the Agency on Aging has taken it to heart. We work with the Agency on Aging a lot. And we have helped develop a program for those caring for people with Alzheimer’s in our state, which they have taken across the country. What happened was that we got a grant to provide services to those caring for people with Alzheimer’s. They don’t come into an institute or a university. We’re the only caregiver program in a university, by the way. But people don’t come in, so we have to take the services to their homes. And so we’ve worked on all twelve districts in our state. And the Administration on Aging has adopted that program. Those are the REACH Programs. (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health) Are you familiar with the REACH Programs?

Gary Barg: Absolutely.

Rosalynn Carter: When Michelle Obama and Jill Biden were working with the Wounded Warriors program,I wrote Michelle and told her that they had left out one thing—that all these people were coming back from wars with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries, but also physical injuries, and somebody was going to have to take care of them. And that’s going to go on for a very long time. And now we’re in the state of Georgia with the Georgia National Guard trying to find them. And this has been very hard because people in the military don’t want to admit they have PTSD or are not capable; they’re afraid that they will lose their job and be thrown out of the military. And so we’re working now like we did with Alzheimer’s—going into the home to work with the families to see if we can get more veterans to realize that this is a program that is helpful to them.

Gary Barg: I think one of the most impressive things to me about what you’ve been doing is what I like to call “Desiloing Caregiving,” where the different care communities share their lessons with one another. The Alzheimer’s community can teach the veterans community, can teach the mental health community and so forth. And the lessons you learn across the spectrum of caregiving can only serve to help other caregivers. Were there lessons learned between the different communities?

 

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