WASHINGTON — The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® Foundation (CTA Foundation) recently awarded Lutheran Services in America a second grant to support two new virtual caregiver support initiatives. This new grant, which runs from July 2021 to July 2022, will provide technology devices, including GoogleGlass and Apple iPads, to 50 family caregivers of older adults and people with dementia in Michigan and Kansas.
Lutheran Services in America is the national organization leading sustainable solutions that enable older, rural adults to live independently, improve health and well-being and achieve a higher quality of life. The Lutheran Services in America partnership with the CTA Foundation will advance innovative technology initiatives at Samaritas in Detroit, Michigan, and Bethany Village in Kansas to assist family caregivers in supporting older adults, many of whom struggle with multiple chronic conditions and lack access to services because of distance, transportation, or their own mobility limitations.
The grant from CTA Foundation will support the development of new “communication stations” at Bethany Village to connect older adults and family caregivers.
“With nearly a century of history, Bethany Village has long been committed to the well-being of our rural community. We are excited for this funding to help us connect older adults with their loved ones near and far through new and upgraded technology devices,” said Kris Erickson, administrator of Bethany Village.
The grant will also expand the impact of recent funding from the Michigan Health Endowment to Samaritas in the first caregiver education platform to use GoogleGlass technology and the Dementia Capable Care model.
“We are excited for the opportunity to build on the progress we have made in supporting caregivers across Michigan,” said Sam Beals, CEO of Samaritas. “We believe the use of innovative technology like GoogleGlass, combined with the evidence-based Dementia Capable care model that relies on best practice principles, will encourage further support for family caregivers.”
Lutheran Services in America is committed to engaging a broad set of partners such as the CTA Foundation to accelerate scale and replication of successful programs that improve people’s lives. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 61 percent of older adults reported feeling isolated, leaving many vulnerable to adverse health effects as a result. Family caregivers selflessly provide critical supports to older adults while facing their own challenges of social isolation, neglect of self-care, lack of familiarity with support services, and lack of understanding medical needs for their care recipient.
“The use of technology will bolster support for the one in five Americans who serve as unpaid caregivers to family and friends,” said Charlotte Haberaecker, president and CEO of Lutheran Services in America. “By spearheading new and innovative uses of virtual technology, Lutheran Services in America members like Samaritas and Bethany Village are strengthening the capacity of caregivers across the country to continue to support their loved ones.”
The 2021–2022 grant builds on the success of funds the CTA Foundation awarded Lutheran Services in America in 2020 to serve families in rural Minnesota and North Dakota communities through the Remote Caregiver program. Funds from the grant were critical in the rapid response of the Remote Caregiver program to surpass its original goal of serving 50 caregivers and instead expand its impact to 119 family caregivers and meet the increased demand for innovative technological solutions to help older adults stay socially connected as the COVID pandemic continued to spread through the rural regions of the country.
About Lutheran Services in America
Lutheran Services in America is a national network of Lutheran social ministry organizations—connecting more than 300 health and human service providers located throughout the country. Recognized by the Chronicle of Philanthropy and Forbes as one of the nation’s largest nonprofits, the Lutheran Services in America network operates with more than $22 billion in annual revenue and over 250,000 member employees. Together, the network lifts up the nation’s most vulnerable people from children to older adults—making a difference in the lives of one in 50 Americans every year. To learn more, visit www.lutheranservices.org.