In the 60’s it was the “Peace Corps” and “VISTA”, in the 90’s it was “Teach for America”, and today it is the “Caregiver Corps”. The social media germinated idea was picked up by Janice Schuster, senior writer for a nonprofit public health research and consulting firm. From both her work and personal experience, she realized that the need for respite and in home care would soon reach epic proportions. She envisioned an army of young adults and retired individuals providing care to the elderly in coordination with local community agencies for a period of one to two years. In exchange for their service they would receive tuition credits, college debt forgiveness or even small stipends. Her original petition to form such a Corps failed to meet the threshold of the White House’s “We The People” website, but is getting a second chance now on Care2.com.
There are obvious public policy issues that must be addressed before such an idea could be implemented on a broad scale, including training, oversight and funding. Should such a Corps be established by Presidential Executive Order and directed by a Presidential appointee, a la the Peace Corps, or should it be a non profit funded by Federal/state grants and private donations a la Teach For America? How will training be handled? Can current high school Health classes be used to motivate and train pre-college volunteers? What about continuity of care? Does limiting service really address that major concern for families and clients?
These and many more questions are left to be answered. But this novel approach offers one solution to meeting the added demand for caregivers as the Baby Boomer generation ages. Centra believes that innovation often comes from within a system, so we welcome any comments on this subject to our Facebook page. Looking to work with seniors? Check out the great job opportunities on our website, our mobile app or call us today at 800 535 0076!