Partner Spotlight: How the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging Supports Caregivers

The BRI Care Consultation™ program provides invaluable resources and comfort to caregivers and their loved ones.

- Posted on Mar 19, 2019

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Caregiving has never been more in the spotlight. An estimated 43.5 million people provided caregiving services in 2015, according to data collected by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. This number is projected to grow in the coming years.

As more people step into caregiving roles, the need for resources and training is growing rapidly. That’s why Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging (BRIA)—a nonprofit founded more than 100 years ago with a mission to advance support for older adults and caregivers—created BRI Care Consultation™—a program to help caregivers and older adults living with chronic health conditions .

BRI Care Consultation™, which evolved from decades of research by the organization’s Center for Research and Education, is designed to fill a gap experts noticed in the caregiving community. The resulting program has been recognized as an evidence-based approach by the Administration for Community Living and by the National Council on Aging.

“BRI Care Consultation is a telephone-based care coordination program,” said Lisa Weitzman, Manager of Business Development at BRIA. “People come to us because they are overwhelmed. One thing that we can really do is help them feel like they've regained control of their lives.”

BRIA utilizes what Weitzman called a “person-centered approach.”

“We design action steps in collaboration with the family,” Weitzman said. Action steps focus on providing personalized, practical solutions to meet the changing needs of families. Some of the action steps are handled by the Care Consultant, but the hope is that most of them are accomplished by the family members.”

Care Consultants help facilitate communication among family members, friends and medical providers. They provide tools to help families navigate and coordinate resources and support services in the family’s community. As a research organization with strong ties to the academic world, BRIA has built a resource library of more than 750 vetted educational tools that Care Consultants also share with families to help inform their decision-making.

BRIA delivers the program and has also trained and licensed nearly 50 organizations around the country to deliver BRI Care Consultation™. Weitzman has heard many stories, and seen numerous times firsthand, how the program is assisting family caregivers. One story that particularly stuck out to her was of a caregiver who had to quit her job in California so she could travel back and forth to Ohio to take care of her mother. She knew her mother’s housing situation was not ideal, and she struggled to navigate difficult family conversations.

“That's when she called BRI Care Consultation™,” Weitzman said. “We were able to help her find the right housing environment for her mom, and connect her with an elder care attorney in the Cleveland area.”

But the services didn’t stop at her mother’s living situation. BRI Care Consultation™ also provided relational support for the family. “We also had a lot of important conversations that focused on what the caregiver was doing for herself to help alleviate some of her stress and make sure that she was taking care of herself so that she could continue to care for her mom,” Weitzman said.

One of the most powerful aspects of the program is the proven outcomes for families. Weitzman said participants in the program report lower rates of depression and stress.

“It works great for long distance caregivers who may not know all the resources available where their loved one is living,” Weitzman said. “Our services are provided in the comfort and privacy of their home. There’s no time wasted in a waiting room.”

BRI Care Consultation™ comes in three-month packages, and families are guaranteed a minimum of five contacts from their Care Consultant. Most importantly, the program is focused on the entirety of caregiving, from financial resources to locating medical resources to effective self-care and everything in between.

“We're not just focusing on the physical aspect or the tactical aspects of caring for a loved one,” Weitzman said. “We look holistically at all the different areas of life that are impacted by chronic health conditions.” 

This story was written in partnership with Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging.

BRI Care Consultation is a service mark of the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging.

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