Ann Arbor, MI — To address a growing need for reliable long-term care supports in communities and neighborhoods across the country, Altarum and Livingston County Catholic Charities (LCCC) are releasing an online, customizable toolkit on how to create and operate a corps of community volunteers who can safely provide non-medical services to older adults and people with disabilities living at home.
Developed with funding from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the comprehensive 340-page toolkit provides community leaders, program directors, and managers with a step-by-step guide to create a volunteer corps of community residents—from recruiting, screening, training, and retaining volunteers to conducting community outreach and marketing.
This toolkit is the first of its kind developed for community-based organizations seeking to organize volunteers to assist aging adults that are largely homebound and in need of basic supports to remain safe and socially connected. The growing aging population and now the Covid-19 crisis are driving demand for these services.
“The Health Fund is proud to have supported LCCC in developing this resource, as their expertise and experience can benefit residents in Michigan and beyond. We've recently seen how people will come together to care for one another, and a volunteer caregiving corps can help communities build that kind of culture. The toolkit provides organizations with the blueprints for action, and is an important part of nationwide caregiver volunteer efforts," said Tim Niyonsenga, program officer at the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.
The toolkit is informed by LCCC’s 30-years of experience running a volunteer caregiver program in Livingston County, Michigan, and Altarum’s decades of leadership advancing eldercare policy, including expanding the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, improving nursing home quality through culture change, and monitoring and evaluating a national community care corps initiative funded by the Administration for Community Living.
“LCCC’s Volunteer Caregiver Program has been an essential service in our community for many years,” said Suzanne Snyder, director of senior services at Livingston County Catholic Charities. “There are many benefits to using caring, local volunteers to provide support and assistance to individuals that may be invisible in the community. We are honored to share our knowledge and material with other organizations that serve their communities.”
Any state or local organization interested in improving care of homebound older adults will benefit from using the toolkit to launch a new volunteer caregiver program or to improve upon an existing one. While the toolkit is shaped by LCCC’s work in Livingston County, a blend of rural and suburban communities 58 miles northeast of Detroit, its detailed policies and communication materials can be easily adapted to the needs of different localities. The toolkit also includes guidance on modifying program policies and services to ensure compliance with public health guidance on Covid-19.
“Everyone at LCCC—our Board of Directors and our Senior Services Team—is grateful to the Michigan Health Endowment Fund for supporting this project. Their funding, along with the partnership with Altarum, provides us the opportunity to strengthen our services and to share our work with others,” said Mark Robinson, executive director of the Livingston County Catholic Charities. “Altarum is proud to have played a role in assembling this toolkit, which we hope will be widely copied and used, ” said Co-Directors of Altarum’s Program to Improve Eldercare, Sarah Slocum and Anne Montgomery.
Altarum is a nonprofit organization that works with public and private insurers, provider organizations, and foundations to improve health of vulnerable and publicly insured populations. Altarum achieves measurable results by combining public health and health care delivery domain expertise with applied research and analytics, technology, continuing education, advisory services, and program implementation. Our innovative solutions lead to better value and better health for all. Learn more at Altarum.org.
About Livingston County Catholic Charities
Livingston County Catholic Charities is a community-based organization that seeks to respond to social service needs in Livingston County that are otherwise unmet or insufficiently served. Agency programs are diverse, including both prevention and direct service and are responsive to everyone. Learn more at LivingstonCatholicCharities.org.