Community Caregivers Sponsoring Health Engagement and Literacy Project

I am working as a consultant with a great organization in the Albany area, Community Caregivers.  Tomorrow, February 26 (10:00, Hampton Inn, Western Avenue Albany) we are launching a series of workshops called HELP, Health Engagement and Literacy Project to assist families and caregivers to understand the changes in health and better manage their care and their rights as patients.  Over the next two months we have five sessions scheduled and we hope to train and recruit older persons and volunteers or any age to be involved in helping people remain living independently in the community and perhaps serve as health care coaches.

Community Caregivers was founded in 1994 to support older residents to remain living in the community and support their families and caregivers. Our organization also helps persons of all ages who need caregiver supports.  Our work began in the village of Altamont and has spread and currently includes the Towns of Guilderland, Bethlehem, Knox, Berne, New Scotland and the City of Albany.  This service area outside of the City of Albany encompasses a population of approximately 65,000 with 13,500 who are age 60 or older.  Approximately 5,000 are 75 or older.

We recruit and train volunteers to provide clients with non-medical services including shopping, transportation, light chores and visits and reassurance phone calls.   The organization also is involved in special projects such as currently working with local hospitals to improve care coordination after a hospital visit to prevent re-admissions.  Often, this requires making sure that food and medicine are in the home.

Currently, we have about 150 volunteers serving over 300 clients and families in our area. In the last ten years, Community Caregivers has provided over 31,000 services with 550 total volunteers providing service, free of charge, to 1000 clients during this period.  The volunteers drove 400,000 miles and donated more than 53,000 hours of service.  Many of our volunteers are older persons themselves who live in the community.  Many have retired from state government or have worked in health-related occupations so they are very knowledgeable and capable in providing information and assistance to help their neighborhoods.

Community Caregivers is administered by an all-volunteer Board of Directors whose members include prominent leaders in the communities we serve.

Mike Burgess