In 2017 Mount Saint Mary’s Center on Aging and Disability Policy was awarded a grant from the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council to launch the ProActive Caring Program for families of individuals with disabilities. This program will provide 1,000 family caregivers of individuals with intellectual, developmental, and other disabilities with expanded training and support over a three-year period.
The ProActive Caring Program blends and adds to two evidence-based training models--Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Positive Adult Development (PAD)--developed by the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. It aims to teach effective coping mechanisms for short- and long-term stressful situations.
The resulting training, called ProActive Caring Stress Reduction, is a FREE three-session course held over a six-week period. The training is intended for family caregivers, and it is open to caregivers who are caring for individuals across the lifespan, from birth to end of life.
To implement the ProActive Caring Program widely, the Center on Aging and Policy at Mount Saint Mary College is partnering with community agencies across New York State and conducting train-the-trainer sessions for teams of agency professionals and parent advocates.
Benefits for community service providers
Organizations that offer the ProActive Caring Stress Reduction Training benefit in the short term from delivering a training based on the MBSR and PAD curricula to their own family caregivers. Longer-term benefits include the fact that organizations partnering with the ProActive Caring Program will have staff members and family caregivers who are highly trained in these evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy programs.
The ProActive Caring Program will integrate its findings as Best Practices into the peer-reviewed literature and professional conference arena. In addition, internet-based tools, platforms, social media sites, and blogs will be utilized to promote sustainability.