Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
According to the AARP, there are an estimated 800,000 family caregivers living in Massachusetts. The Family Caregiver Alliance reports that many caregivers care for both young children and aging parents, and one in six work full- or part-time, balancing career responsibilities with their caregiving roles.
In many ways, the pandemic has exacerbated the stress of family caregivers, while also increasing the number of family caregivers globally. National research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that, during COVID-19, family caregivers have experienced increased anxiety, depression and substance use. This has been particularly adverse for caregivers of color, millennial caregivers, and essential workers.
The Executive Office of Elder Affairs offers several resources for family caregivers who may benefit from community services and support. Individuals can start by connecting with MassOptions, a free state-sponsored resource that facilitates access to community supports (reachable at 800-243-4636 or www.massoptions.org). MassOptions is designed for people looking for help with aging and disability services.
When contacting MassOptions, individuals may wish to be connected to their local Aging Services Access Point, a nonprofit aging care agency, to reach a specialist from the free Family Caregiver Support Program.
The Family Caregiver Support Program is for people caring for an older loved one or an adult living with a disability, including Alzheimer’s and dementia. The program provides help to caregivers in a variety of ways — by sharing information and tips to help navigate caregiving, suggesting local resources, providing respite care for caregivers who need a break, and lending a listening ear. Caregiver specialists may also help with referrals to home care services or facility-based care.
Caregivers may also reach out to their local council on aging or senior center to learn about resources, including support groups, information sessions, and in some cases, respite care opportunities in their community.
In addition to the community supports offered via the aging services network, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs is a co-founder of the Massachusetts Caregiver Coalition, which is committed to increasing support for caregivers in the workplace. Any employer is welcome to join this collaboration of employers from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The coalition provides resources, webinars and a collective learning space for organizational leadership, human resources professionals, and passionate employees. For more information about the coalition, visit mehi.masstech.org/massachusetts-caregiver-coalition.
To learn more about the Massachusetts Caregiver Coalition or any of the programs and services available to support family caregivers, visit www.mass.gov/topics/caregiving or contact MassCaregiver@mass.gov.
Written by Kathryn Downes, Director of Policy at the Executive Office of Elder Affairs