WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), in partnership with the National Council on Aging (NCOA), has received a five-year, $4.3 million award from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) and the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to establish a new Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Family Support. Led by Sandy Magana, Professor of Disability and Human Development at UIC; Tamar Heller, Professor and Head of Disability and Human Development at UIC; and Joe Caldwell, NCOA Director of Long-Term Services and Support Policy, the center will bring together experts in aging and disabilities to advance a coordinated vision for research, policy, and practice to support family caregivers.
Family caregivers are the backbone of the long-term services and supports (LTSS) system. More than 65 million family caregivers help approximately 12 million seniors and individuals with disabilities live at home, participate in the community, and age with independence and dignity. However, caregiving often comes with significant social, health, and economic costs. The vast majority of family caregivers do not receive any formal support.
“This is an unprecedented effort to bring together the aging and disability communities, allowing us to learn from each other and establish a stronger voice for change,” said Caldwell. “This research will translate into policy and practice that strengthens the ability of caregivers to support their loved ones.” NCOA leads the nation’s only Disabilities and Aging Collaborative, which has been working to improve long-term services and supports for older adults and individuals with disabilities.
“Particular attention will be devoted to the needs of racial and ethnic minorities and other diverse families,” stated Magana. “We know that these families are underserved and rarely receive culturally competent services and supports.”
Other collaborating partners on the center include Boston College, Brandeis University, University of Minnesota, Easter Seals, The Arc of the United States, Sibling Leadership Network, Association of University Centers on Disabilities, and the National Alliance for Caregiving. More than 20 other diverse community-based and national consumer organizations will guide the work of the center and help translate the research into real change that improves the lives of seniors, people with disabilities, and their families.