August 1, 2012

The Legacy Corps for Health and Independent Living project, based in the Department of Health Services Administration, received a three-year, $5.7 million grant ($1.9 million annually) from the Corporation for National and Community Service (a federal agency) to provide caregiver support services to veteran and military families at 17 sites in 11 states. Dr. Laura Wilson, professor and chair of Health Services Administration, is the principal investigator for this project which is focused on decreasing caregiver burden and stress and enabling veterans to remain in their home communities and avoid (or postpone) institutional care.

Legacy Corps, in collaboration with the American Legion Auxiliary, Vietnam Veterans of America, Fisher Houses, and Easter Seals National Veteran Caregiver Training Division will recruit 950 volunteers to provide caregivers in military families with respite and support services. The project will involve 17 sites spread among the states of California, Florida, Maryland, Idaho, Illinois, New York, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Minnesota, Washington, and Wisconsin. Building upon the evidence-based success of Legacy Corps and its demonstrated experience with veterans and military families as well as a growing need for caregiver support services in this sector, Legacy Corps now will focus the majority of its efforts on providing services by and for veterans and military families and assessing the impact and long term value of these services.

For more than a decade, the University of Maryland Center on Aging's Legacy Corps' AmeriCorps members and volunteers have provided 8,152 caregiver families an estimated 1,314,800 hours of respite and related services. The program has demonstrated significant, evidence-based impact in reducing caregiver stress, improving caregiver emotional health status, increasing community attachment and civic engagement of the members, and maintaining caregiver satisfaction.

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Laura B. Wilson