Caregiver's Corner

Issues in Aging Radio Show -  WSVA 550 AM or 92.1 FM  

Podcast Topic: "Caregiving from the Trenches"

Hosted by VPAS Director of Senior Services in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, Beth Bland, with special guests Kathy Guisewite and a local caregiver.

The city of Harrisonburg proclaims November Family Caregivers Month.  Read the proclamation.

Caregiving by the numbers

Caregivers Community Network (CCN)

In partnership with James Madison University, VPAS matches pairs of students with families that are caring for a frail older adult through the Caregivers Community Network (CCN) course.  Enrolled students provide weekly visits to provide social interaction with the care recipient while the caregiver takes a much needed break. 

How Does CCN Work?

In-home family caregivers are referred to CCN by health care providers, other community agencies, VPAS Case Managers, or through self referral.  Prospective host families will receive a home visit with the CCN Coordinator.  During this visit families will be assessed for eligibility for the program.  If eligible, an interest profile of the care recipient will be completed and a student match will be made.  Prior to making in-home visits JMU students must complete training on how to interact with older adults, particularly those who are frail and who have cognitive impairment.  Students visit the home weekly throughout the semester.  Visits last 2-3 hours.

CCN offers respite to caregivers of those 60 years old and older who live in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County. You may return the family application to Kathy Guisewite via e-mail at or you may mail it to her at:  975 South High Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Once the application is received, it will be reviewed and then Kathy will be in touch to set up a visit with the caregiver and the care receiver.  At that point, it will be determined if CCN is able to serve the family.  At the start of each semester, a team of two students are assigned to the family, and families are given the student names and contact information.

Click HERE for the Family Application

Coming Soon: The Confident Caregiver: A Family Caregiver Conference.  Register here.

RAISE Family Caregivers Act Signed Into Law

VPAS is celebrating the passage of Recognize, Assist, Include, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act.  This legislation is paving the way for a coordinated national strategy addressing the needs of family caregivers, leading to better caregiver health and well-being as well as a higher quality of care for older adults.  For millions of caregivers who help loved ones remain in their homes, more support is coming.  

Locally, as many as one in three residents will be older adults by 2030, with the highest population in rural areas. This “grey wave” is increasing demand for caregivers of older adults, many of whom will become less independent and at greater risk of developing chronic health conditions as they age.

Most caregivers are family members, part of an unpaid workforce of 40 million people nationwide providing about $470 billion annually in unpaid care to their loved ones. The strain on them can be tremendous, negatively affecting their health, careers, finances, and parenting. As the number of aging residents in our area increases, the number of available caregivers is expected to decrease, adding to the strain. Studies show caregivers are more likely to suffer health problems as a result of the chronic stress they experience providing often around-the-clock-care for a frail older adult or disabled relative.  We're here to help!