The UNM College of Nursing will serve as the lead agency in developing a local caregiver support system. More than $67,000 of funding from the City of Albuquerque and the Bernalillo County Area Agency on Aging (AAA) has been awarded to the CON for a six month period in an effort to provide a unified vision and approach to meeting the needs of caregivers.

Over the past ten years, New Mexico has seen a decrease in birth rates and an increase in life span, which means more families are facing the challenge of caring for aging loved ones. Because of this increasing need, Congress passed legislation authorizing $125 million to establish a New Family Caregiver Support Program as part of the Older Americans' Act.

The CON will work with the New Mexico State Agency on Aging and AAA to develop the Older Americans' Program Area Plan. Project goals include identifying the needs of caregivers and coordinating with community agencies to provide both educational and support services for caregivers. Linda Petri, M.A., will serve as the project manager and will work with Sandra Ferketich, Ph.D., dean of the UNM College of Nursing.

"Our goal is to provide area caregivers with a comprehensive network one place in which to find information on caregiver training, symptom management, education, legal assistance and access to services," said Ferketich. "This will help support the coordination of the various agencies and help alleviate the tremendous burden that is placed on an individual or family when serving as caregivers."

The College of Nursing is based at the UNM Health Sciences Center and has partnered with the City of Albuquerque AAA for the past 15 years. The two organizations have collaborated by providing nursing services at the City's Geriatric Education and Health Management Clinics. The nurse-managed clinics promote and maintain healthy aging by addressing the concerns of senior citizens and providing a variety of health care services.


Contact: HSC Public Affairs, 272-3322