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Connections Sept2012

Connections Sept2012

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Published by: Interfaith CarePartners on Sep 07, 2012
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Connections
Interfaith CarePartners®Volume 24, September 2012
25 Years of Caregiving:1990-2011, Building on a Foundation
Continued on page 2 
pproximately 6,000 people each yearaccess at least one o our services orvolunteer in the Care Team program ocongregation-based caregiving. Theyhave some understanding o who we are now andwhat we do. However, relatively ew o theseprogram-related people or hundreds o annual donors haveknown us throughout our history or know how we becamewho we are now.Each issue o
Connections
this year tells part o thehistory o Interaith CarePartners as we celebrate the 25
th
 anniversary (1986 – 2011) o the Care Team concept that ledto the birth o Interaith CarePartners. Each issue highlightsone era o our history: early years (1986 – 1990) in the Mayissue, stewardship o our mission (1990 – present) in thisissue, and local and national impact (December issue).
Summary of the Beginning
The Care Team
®
concept developed as Dr. Earl Shelp andDr. Ron Sunderland prepared to support Jay Jones, Shelp’sresearch assistant, ollowing Jay’s diagnosis with HIV/AIDS in1985. Sunderland and Shelp, proessors in the Texas MedicalCenter, spent time in an AIDS treatment clinic in order to learnabout AIDS and prepare to care or him. They met many menand women with HIV/AIDS in the clinic who had no one tocare or them. They were not content to allow these peopleto die alone, so they began to assist them in many ways andto be with them as they died.There were too many people or them to serve alone, sothey began frst to recruit ellow clergy, and then memberso local congregations to orm loving teams o volunteers toberiend and serve these people whose lives were endingprematurely and in isolation. Thus, the Care Team concepto shared, coordinated, and supervised congregation-basedcaregiving was created. In January 1986, the AIDS CareTeam
®
project was launched.Concurrently with these pioneering caregiving activities,they were actively educating people in local congregationsand nationally through articles, books, and presentationsat conerences calling people o God to a compassionateresponse to AIDS. In 1988, the Care Team concept andmethod were institutionalized when they resigned acultyappointments and ounded Interaith CarePartners. Theywere convinced that the lessons in caregiving learned as they
 
A
cared or people with HIV/AIDS could be adaptedto assist persons with other conditions who werein decline or impaired.
Stewardship of the Concept
At the time the AIDS Care Team
®
projectwas reaching its peak in terms o persons served (311 in 1991,429 in 1992, 425 in 1993), the frst attempt began to servepersons with other disabling conditions. During 1990 – 1991,six congregations were part o a ‘general care’ or GenCareTeam pilot project that utilized the team concept and practicesthat were highly eective in the AIDS Care Team project. Toour surprise and dismay, the project did not gain traction. But,it was not a ailure.Something is always learned during a research or pilotproject, even when the expected outcomes do not result.When the GenCare Team project was evaluated, severalconclusions were reached.First, the people to be served by team members werenonspecifc. Signaling that the teams would support anyonewith needs did not attract people whose lives had beentouched by a particular disease or condition that oten createsan interest to assist that particular population.Second, there was no sense o urgency or intensity toprompt people to volunteer when the population to be servedwas not named and the intensity o their needs was not ex-plicit.Third, members o congregations in their own ways wereaccustomed to caring or people with amiliar diagnoses orconditions. No special knowledge or skills seemed necessaryto care or a rail older adult, person with cancer, diabetes,congestive heart ailure, ar-thritis, or another condition, incontrast to the new disease,AIDS.In light o these conclu-sions, an oncologist membero the board o directors, PaulGustason, M.D., suggestedconsidering persons with Al-zheimer’s disease or anotherdementia because o theirprogressive needs or support
Line dancing during the rodeo with Alzheimer’s Care Team members at Congregation Beth Israel 
Connections_Sept2012.indd 18/17/12 11:14 AM
 
2
25 Years of Caregiving
Continued from page 1
and the value o time o or amily care-givers. This redirection o emphasisaddressed the frst and second short-comings o the GenCare Team pilotproject. Further research showed thatit responded to the third snag, as well.No partner congregation in the AIDSCare Team project had a special min-istry or amilies aected by dementia.In addition, they had no idea about howthe congregation could remain robustlyconnected to and supportive o theseamilies during their pilgrimage withdementia. Lastly, they had never beentaught how to relate to a person withdementia or to respond to the particularstresses o amily caregivers.The Care Team concept wasretooled to serve amilies aected bydementia. We asked congregations tojoin the Alzheimer’s Care Team
®
projectto fll a gap in their care o membersand neighbors with special needs.We hoped congregants previouslytouched by Alzheimer’s disease oranother dementia, as well as all othersgenerally concerned or ill persons,would welcome this opportunity toshare their journey. And, we preparedto teach team members the essentialso the maniestations o dementia, howto relate to persons with dementia, andhow to support amily caregivers.Memorial Drive Presbyterian Churchwas the frst congregation to join theAlzheimer’s Care Team ministry inJanuary 1993. Team members spenttime in the homes o persons withdementia so that amily caregivers couldattend to personal matters or simplyrest. This ‘time o’ is called respite.O the eighty-two (82) congregationalAlzheimer’s Care Team ministriesormed since 1993, 59 are lovinglycaring or persons with dementia andtheir amily caregivers today.The team at Memorial DrivePresbyterian Church has a secondpioneering role in the Alzheimer’sCare Team project. Rather thanmeeting persons with dementia intheir homes, they began in 1997to meet them at the church twicemonthly or 3.5 hours o stimulatingactivities and lunch. This orm odirect care and respite becameknown as an Alzheimer’s CareTeam ‘Gathering Place’ and is nowused by nearly all Alzheimer’s CareTeam projects.Our belie that the CareTeam concept and methods couldbeneft others was vindicated whenthe Alzheimer’s Care Team projecttook root and grew. The amilies withdementia that we met and servedhelped us to appreciate how commonphysical changes that may begin in the6
th
decade o lie and later cause peopleto rely on others. We, also, recognizedthat the number o older adults inphysical decline vastly exceededthose in cognitive decline. Whetherphysically or cognitively challenged,nearly all preer to live out their daysin their homes. The Alzheimer’s CareTeam project had become a lielineor cognitively impaired persons andtheir caregivers. A new expression othe Care Team concept was createdto embrace and support people withphysical limitations.We oten described Care Teammembers as a ‘surrogate or extendedamily, a second amily’ or the peoplethey served. In 1994, we applied thisimage to the third expression o theCare Team concept designed to be-riend and assist debilitating adults oany age: Second Family Care Team
®
 project. The newproject was intend-ed to help congre-gations remain orbecome robustlyengaged withmembers whobecome progres-sively less ableto be present andinvolved. Mostcongregations hadone or more pro-grams to continuecontact with theseindividuals and amilies, but ew had anorganized and comprehensive programthat provided companionship, practicalassistance, and socialization, in addi-tion to established methods o spiri-tual care. Second Family Care Team
®
 members flled this gap or members,as well as neighbors as they were able.Northwoods Presbyterian Churchand Trinity Episcopal Church (Baytown)were the frst congregations to give lieto the new project. Trinity Episcopalhas served continuously since 1994.Northwoods Presbyterian served rom1994 – 1997 and 2006 till the present.Teams in this project have an inclusivemission. They respond to needs appro-priate or laypeople to meet that are dueto any disease or condition. This ea-ture makes a Second Family Care Teamproject especially attractive to smaller,as well as larger congregations. Its ap-peal to smaller congregations, otenwith aging and declining memberships,has meant that many o these teamshave relatively short lie spans.The ourth expression o the CareTeam concept began in 2000 in re-sponse to the respite needs o amilieswith an impaired child. We learnedthat some con-gregations hadspecial activitiesor these amiliesduring regularworship times,but ew sharedin the care othese childrenat home so thatparents couldhave time o oran opportunity toconcentrate sole-ly on other chil-dren. We reasoned that the Care Teammethod o shared and supervised care-giving could be a saety net or theseamilies. O the nine congregations inthe Kids’ Pals Care Team project, onlyBrentwood Baptist Churchcontinues to serve. Thepilot phase o this projectshowed more promisethan has been realized. Aswith the GenCare Teampilot project, lessons havebeen learned that addstrength to all expressionso the Care Team concept,even though ewer con-gregations than expectedhave embraced this specialministry.As noted above, thepioneering AIDS Care Team projectreached a plateau in 1993 when newdrugs extended lie expectancy andenabled sel-sufciency. O the 101teams in the ground breaking projectsince 1986, St. Cecilia Catholic (1987),Brentwood Baptist (1989), and Wheeler
Messiah Lutheran’s Second Family Care Team members serenade Maria Kids’ Pals Care Team guest at Brentwood Baptist A little cold nose love at an Alzheimer’s Care Team ‘Gathering Place’ activity time.
 
Connections_Sept2012.indd 28/17/12 11:14 AM
 
3
Standing room only at a conference for caregivers at St. Luke’s United Methodist 
Avenue Baptist (1989) remain active.Over 4,000 AIDS Care Team membersmade lie better or 3,953 persons rom1986 - 2011. As importantly, these trail-blazing volunteers inspired us to believethat the Care Team concept and meth-ods could be adapted to provide com-parable benefts to people with otherphysical and cognitive difculties. Eachsuccessive Care Team project beneft-ed rom the successes and shortcom-ings o its predecessors. The goal hasalways been to create and sustain e-ective means by which congregationscould bless and be blessed as they em-brace underserved weak and vulnerablepeople.
Complementing the Signature Pro-gram
Our frst priority has always beenthe excellence and integrity o theCare Team program. It is the seminalconcept rom which a caregivingprogram has grown to involve at least35,000 total people as team membersor persons served through 2011. Thisrecord o volunteer caregiving has beenwritten in partnership with Jewishand Christian congregations in Harrisand our adjacent counties. It is oursignature service program that hasbeen complemented, at times, by otherservices that contributed to the saety,independence, comort, and dignity opersons served by teams.During the years the AIDS CareTeam project was most active (1986– 1993), we provided pantry, casemanagement, and proessionalcounseling services or people with HIV/ AIDS. These auxiliary services wereconsistent with our mission and undedmainly by government contracts. Theywere undertaken because we coulddeliver them eectively and underwritethe costs while being disciplined toavoid adverse eects o ‘missioncreep.’ These services ended whenother agencies began the service, ourexpertise was not needed, or undingcontracts ended.As we better understood the needso persons with dementia, physicallyimpaired adults o any age, amilieso special needs children, and amilycaregivers, in general, we have oeredother services to complement theday-to-day kindnesses o Care Teammembers that make lie better or thepeople they serve.Responding to concerns and an-swering questions about where to goor help have always been part o thejob description o our proessional sta.People acing adver-sity oten do not knowwhere to turn or howto ask or help. Theyeel vulnerable, con-used, and, at times,embarrassed whenmaking inquiries. Thelast sound they wantor need to hear whenthey call is a recordingo menu options thatlikely do not address their individual con-cern. All calls to Interaith CarePartnersduring business hours are answered bya live person who listens sympatheti-cally to the caller’s story. Questions areanswered as accurately and completelyas possible. Inormation and reerral areimportant services to Care Team mem-bers and their care partners, as well asthe public. These inquiries, as well asrequests or Care Team support, are thefrst opportunities we have to displayone o our core values: respect, sensi-tivity, and compassion or all.Responding to telephone inquiriesis an educational activity that isinseparable rom the Care Teamprogram. Similarly, the continuededucation o team members duringmonthly meetings has been a criticaleature o the program since 1986.Our educational emphasis expandedin 2002 to oer amily caregivers anopportunity to come together, sharestories and gain strength rom eachother, and attend proessionally ledworkshops that address a broadscope o concerns such as Medicare,Medicaid, and veterans benefts, basiclegal documents and considerations,sel care, all prevention and homesaety, fnding services, home careoptions, navigating dementia, caringor stroke survivors, and many more.By 2011, six conerences or amilycaregivers eaturing more than 100workshops attracted 1,140registrants.Our embrace oamily caregivers becamemore comprehensive in2008. Common Ground:Caregiver Conversationswas introduced as a supportgroup service or caregivers.Many support groups areconvened and acilitatedby laypeople. A distinctiveeature o Common Ground is thatthese meetings are led by a volunteermental health proessional and a ormercaregiver. This leadership team oersproessional expertise and sensitivityborne rom personal experience.Through 2011, 194 amily caregivershave enrolled in 14 groups that meetat one o our partner congregations.Most o the groups are restricted tocaregivers o persons with dementia.They typically meet concurrently withan Alzheimer’s Care Team ‘GatheringPlace’ activity program attended by aloved one. This timing and convenientlocation makes it easier or a caregiverto have ellowship with others, sharestories and resources, and receive theemotional support they need to meeteach day.Making it easier to volunteer orto access help is a hallmark o all oour programs. Our proessional staprovides all support to Care Teammembers at their congregations.Educational conerences or caregiversare located now in 5 partnercongregations in Harris, Montgomery,and Ft. Bend counties. CommonGround meetings are similarly dispersedthrough our congregational network.Our most recent eort to support amilycaregivers is directed at those who areemployed.Studies indicate that 68% o care-givers work ull or part time. Being
Juan Ortiz greets all callers 
Connections_Sept2012.indd 38/17/12 11:14 AM

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