Who would sign up to be a caregiver?
As any caregiver can attest, taking care of an elder is not for the faint-of heart. Would it be hard to find people (especially younger individuals) to sign up for something like this?
Perhaps, but Schuster doesn’t see this as a significant obstacle.
Indeed, rates of volunteerism are highest among college-age adults. Tapping into the passion and energy of this youthful cohort would be an essential component of getting a Caregiver Corps off the ground.
The value of older volunteers shouldn’t be discounted either. Recent retirees who’re still healthy are likely to identify strongly with their less-fortunate peers, making them a compassionate source of service for this population.
How you can help
It won’t solve every problem associated with elder care, but a legion of eager volunteers would certainly help alleviate the physical, mental and financial burdens faced by the country’s caregivers. But, with no official government buy-in it will still be awhile before those on the front line see relief from a Caregiver Corps-type program.
Hopefully the coming days will bring more petition signatures, but the idea has received such powerful support from leaders in the health care and volunteer industries that she feels confident that, no matter what happens to the petition, the idea will gradually gather steam.
“I’ve received so many encouraging notes that relay people’s own experiences with comments about how much a Caregiver Corps volunteer could have helped them in tough times,” she says.
The biggest barrier to implementation is likely to come after getting the government to buy in to the idea of a Caregiver Corps. Getting policymakers to agree on how to structure and implement such a project will be a tricky task. “There are certainly a lot of logistics to be worked out, but I don’t think they are insurmountable,” the ever-optimistic Schuster notes.
For now, there is one thing you can do to help transform the Caregiver Corps from idea to reality: sign the petition.
Schuster also encourages people who are interested in more information and learning how they can get involved to contact her via this e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.