Education is Key
As we reported in 2016, communities are finding ways to provide support and financial assistance to people to train to become Certified Nurse Assistants (CNA’s). Many are eager to find ways for good caregivers to increase their training and professional status in one of the fastest growing occupations in the country. The Elios Nursing Academy that we highlighted at that time has evolved to a partnership with Piedmont Virginia Community College to connect students with scholarship money and the CNA training program there.
College Bound Family Caregivers
At the same time, another trend is emerging. Scholarships are now available to family caregivers and volunteer caregivers to fund their own education. Consider the time and energy that unpaid family caregivers give to their elder family members. Many must derail careers and personal goals to be present for the daily needs of vulnerable aging parents.
Consider the SeniorAdvice.com Senior Caregiver Scholarship. Since 2016, SeniorAdvice.com has awarded a scholarship of $1000 each for higher education to both a family caregiver and to a volunteer caregiver who has helped seniors in their community. SeniorAdvice.com is a senior care and housing site that is a resource for information on numerous issues of healthy aging, such as mindfulness and senior wellness. The scholarship recognizes the sacrifice that many family caregivers make. It aims to assist them to further their own education. There is no stipulation regarding the area of study. Applicants are asked to create a short video in which they share a caregiving story, something that they have learned while being a caregiver or some piece of valuable advice that they would offer to others in the same situation.
The videos of the winning applicants are later posted on the SeniorAdvice.com website. Here are a couple of favorites. This young man’s love of his grandmother, his observations about dementia and overall exuberance shines through. Another scholarship recipient discusses what she has learned from the older adults she has encountered. Some of her reflections about communicating with elders should be shared with anyone working in this field! Here is a link to the application for the 2018 SeniorAdvice.com Caregiver Scholarship. This year, the award will be for $2000. Please share with any family or friend caregiver who has goals for higher education.
Hitting the Road
A scholarship for family caregivers of a different kind can be found at Road Scholar. Road Scholar is a not-for-profit travel experience company whose “participants (alongside renowned experts), experience in-depth and behind-the-scenes learning opportunities by land and by sea on travel adventures designed for boomers and beyond.” They offer “transformative learning adventures from San Francisco to Siberia.” In addition to giving over 300 scholarships each year, Road Scholar offers Caregiver Grants to family caregivers in recognition of the physical and emotional costs of caregiving. They suggest that family caregivers may find respite in a travel experience. The link to the Caregiver Grant application is here.
We hope to continue to find more opportunities to recognize and support family caregivers.