New Grant Creates Caregiver Services Network

Caretaker with older adultFlorida is aging, and quickly. And the growth in the state’s older adult population has been accompanied by an increasing demand for quality services to make it easier to remain at home as long as possible, such as respite, personal care and assistance with household chores.

To help meet anticipated need, the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) has approved a $100,000 two-year grant, to Share the Care to help existing non-profits work together to provide services to a new population of family caregivers.

The grant will be used to create the Caregiver Services Network (CSN) which will focus on building the business acumen of area non-profits by teaching them the skills necessary to market caregiving services to customers who can pay market rates.

Many of the non-profit organizations providing services to older adults or their caregivers currently rely heavily on funds from federal and state grants. These grants fund services to people in need, who meet specific income eligibility requirements. However, these sources have experienced budget reductions in recent years, just as the need for services is increasing due to the rising number of older adults.

There are many local non-profit organizations that have a long and strong history of providing services to seniors. They have rich experience and trained, qualified personnel needed to provide high quality services to older adults. But, since they are so dependent on government grants, they have little or no experience in pricing and marketing their services to the general public which they need to do to become healthier financially.

Enter CSN.  Share the Care is the lead organization charged with identifying non-profits interested in participating in CSN. These organizations will identify a service (from their current offerings) they can provide to caregivers. A volunteer team of business and marketing/PR professionals will teach pricing principles to help organizations understand how much to charge for the service.  Assuming the service can generate a profit margin, the organization will commit to offer it as part of the newly created CSN menu of services. CSN will market these services to caregivers who don’t qualify for government subsidies and can afford to pay for quality services.

CSN’s goals are to help member organizations learn how to price and market their services to a new population of caregivers; to help family caregivers become aware of and purchase the CSN services; and to help make sure the profit margins realized from the sale of services will help defray the cost of services provided to subsidized clients.

“Investing in building the business acumen of non-profits has been particularly timely in the last few years given the economic downturn,” said Diana Silvey, WPHF Program Director. “Several state and national foundations of aging services have made great strides and we are fortunate that many of the tools they have produced will be used as we embark on our local effort. I believe CSN holds great promise and I am excited that several non-profits and volunteers have already expressed interest in participating.”

Share the Care, Inc., the grantee, has provided services to Central Florida family caregivers since 1986. Its mission is to provide services, education, training and support to family caregivers, enabling them to maintain their family member at home, delaying or eliminating the need for institutional care.