Angela Gulisane and Todd Manwaring, Department of Sociology
Throughout the process of this project, it has made many changes and developed into something more than it was originally. Even after the submission of the ORCA Grant proposal it changed. The positive and influential outcome, however, was not changed though.
Our project found a sustainable way to provide “care for the caregivers” and reduce the need for institutional care by temporarily relieving caregivers from their duties. Originally, our plan was to use TimeBanking principles to create a pilot program that relieved caregivers of their duties by giving respite to the caregivers in the form of student volunteers. Before beginning to create our program, we performed an initial needs assessment. As part of this assessment, we learned of the CarePartner program both from CarePartner’s website and one of Shannon’s (student who worked on the program for a semester) friends. Initially, we tried multiple channels of communication to contact the head of the program, but we were unable to make contact. After attempting to contact CarePartner for over a month, we decided it was necessary to proceed with the creation of our own program. However, as we started to create our program, we heard about a caregiver conference hosted by Mountainland at the Provo Recreation Center. We decided to go to the conference to receive feedback about our program from the conference attendees. At the conference, I began talking to Margene Luke. With her help we were able to get in contact with the heads of CarePartner, Geri Lehnardt and Klorisa Jolley.
After meeting with Klorisa and Geri of CarePartner, we collectively decided we would combine our efforts rather than “reinventing the wheel”. Instead of creating our own program, we decided to help the already established CarePartner program become more sustainable and beneficial to all participants involved. The fundamental obstacle CarePartner faced was the hesitation for caregivers and care receivers to join the program. After talking with caregivers and Klorisa, we discovered that caregivers and care receivers were hesitant to join the program because they did not feel comfortable receiving help without contributing something as well. Consequently, we decided this was a perfect opportunity to incorporate the TimeBanking principle of give-and-take. This principle would mean that as the student volunteer gave service to the caregivers and care receivers, the care receivers would contribute by teaching the volunteers something or providing service for others (i.e. making cards for hospitals, veterans, etc). For example, a student volunteer could go into the home and write the care receiver’s life story. This way the student volunteer is learning from the care receiver, the caregiver has time to do what they need to do, and the care receiver feels as though they are helping the next generation understand things that they learned in their lives. Also, we asked the CarePartner program to record the caregiver’s and care receiver’s hobbies in order to help volunteers prepare activities. Additionally, we took the give-and-take principles and created a list of activities for the student volunteers to use while working with the caregivers and care receivers based off of medical findings for different diseases and gave this to CarePartner. These give-and-take activities were then incorporated into 12 different training modules we created and gave to Care Partner to use to train the student volunteers to make each service visit a learning and growing opportunity for all those involved.
We felt that a big reason that the program lacked participants was because both the caregivers and receivers felt they were simply getting help without giving any, and the volunteers did not have an incentive to participate. With the new addition of the give-and-take principles, both of these issues are solved, and participation in the program is a learning experience for all parties involved. All we have done for the program with the help of TimeBanking will simultaneously increase the quality of life for the volunteers, care receivers, the caregivers themselves, and promote intergenerational relationships.
To sum up the impact: we have provided CarePartner with written materials for student volunteers, 12 training modules to teach volunteers about caregiving and Timebanking, and we have introduced them to new, innovative applications of “give and take.” The current program director, Klorisa Jolley, stated that the changes introduced this semester will have long-term effects in the program. She said, “I love the way our new program fosters the importance of relationships and mutual giving.” She further stated that the new program “will help in retaining participants because they will feel needed, and the activities will build relationships that will make them realize that they have a major role in that someone’s life.”
Since our collaboration with CarePartner in October 2015, their program went from having 6 caregiver volunteer matches to 20, an increase of over 100%. The number of student volunteers also increased by over 366% from 6 to 30. Also, we put Klorisa in contact with OCI (On Campus Internships) and had multiple professors agree to trying to work with her on a collaborative internship specifically related to Gerontology. Since then, she has had multiple interns from BYU and kept a positive relationship with BYU and BYU Internships. The impact was greater than we could have imagined and we want to thank our donor, BYU, and BYU SIP internships.