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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
November 25, 2003

Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Donna Leusner
(609) 984-7160


 
New Jersey Launches Website to Help Caregivers


 

TRENTON – Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. today unveiled a new website to help people caring for frail elderly relatives or adults with physical disabilities locate information and vital resources at the click of a button from the comfort of their own homes or offices.

 

            “Family caregivers are the backbone of our long-term care system, providing countless hours of loving care at a fraction of the cost of institutional care,” said Commissioner Lacy.  “We have launched this new website to give caregivers 24-hour access to the information they need to continue providing compassionate care in the community.”

 

            Governor James E. McGreevey recognizes the value of family caregiving and has directed the Department of Health and Senior Services to develop caregiver programs.

           

            The new site – www.caregivernj.nj.gov – contains information on caregiver programs, services and support groups, and caregiver self-assessment tools such as a daily task appraisal and a home safety checklist.   Caregivers visiting the site can also get information about services for their frail or disabled relatives. The site is organized in broad categories that help caregivers identify needs, including help with bills and finances, help with insurance, caring for adults living at home, transportation and other issues.

 

Dr. Lacy said the website was designed for ease of use, with large type, few graphics, and with all program and service information and caregiver self-help tools located no more than three clicks off the homepage.  It was also designed with busy, isolated and long-distance caregivers in mind.

 

“Many caregivers are employed and raising children and helping a relative who is either elderly or physically disabled. Others spend most of their days providing direct full-time care, while still others live too far from their loved ones to easily learn about and access local services in New Jersey.”

 

CaregiverNJ allows caregivers to reach out to learn about services at a time and place that is most convenient for them,” the Commissioner added.

 

The website format is based on a prototype developed by Penn State University and the Spry Foundation, a non-profit research organization dedicated to promoting healthy and successful aging.  Funding for the project was provided as part of a three-year grant from the federal Administration on Aging through its National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCS).  New Jersey was one of 28 states to receive an NFCS grant to initiate innovative caregiver assistance programs.

 

Commissioner Lacy unveiled the new website in the company of seniors, caregivers and service providers gathered at the Hollowbrook Senior Center in Ewing.  The center is home to a SeniorNet program, a nonprofit organization that provides older adults with access to and education about computer technology.

 

The launch coincides with the observance of November as National Family Caregiver Month, a time to thank, support, assist, educate, and celebrate our nation’s more than 50 million family caregivers.  Nationally, one in four homes has at least one adult who has provided care for an elderly person within the past 12 months.  In New Jersey, an estimated 712,000 to 863,000 adults are providing some form of unpaid caregiving service for an elderly or disabled friend or family member. 

 

“As the generations come together this holiday season to share and to celebrate, some may recognize that a relative who is either elderly or an adult with a physical disability needs help to maintain their independence.  They now can turn to CaregiverNJ to help identify their needs and easily access available resources,” said Louise Arline, a family caregiver from Pennsauken and a member of the Department’s caregiver advisory committee.

 

            Dr. Lacy said New Jersey has long recognized the tremendous efforts and challenges facing caregivers and has initiated programs – like the new website – and redesigned others to promote continuation of compassionate efforts to allow those needing assistance to receive the care in the most home-like environment possible.

 

New Jersey was one of the first states to pilot a statewide respite care program and a caregiver assistance program for those caring for family members or friends with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.  Many caregivers also can receive services through their County Office on Aging.  These offices have received funds from the Older Americans Act that are specifically earmarked for caregiver services.

 

In September, Governor McGreevey announced the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services had received a federal grant in the amount of almost $800,000 to assist the state with its efforts to better educate consumers about access to long-term care supports, including services that directly help caregivers.

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