ProActive Caring Program
In October 2017, The Center on Aging and Disability Policy at Mount Saint Mary College was awarded a 3-year grant by the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (NYS DDPC) to provide Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training to family members who are providing care to individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. As a result of this funding support, the “ProActive Caring Program” was developed.
The ProActive Caring team is a collaboration of family caregivers; faculty, staff, and independent contractors affiliated with the Center on Aging and Disability Policy at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY; individual practitioners; and staff, advocates and self-advocates of community-based agencies throughout New York State, including Parent Network of Western New York (PNWNY) in Buffalo, the Arc Lexington, the Center for Spectrum Studies, Independent Living, Inc, in Newburgh, Putnam Independent Living Services, Hudson Valley Behavior Solutions andAccess: Supports for Living.
In the first year, drawing from the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Positive Adult Development (PAD) programs, developed at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at Vanderbilt University, the ProActive Caring team implemented a pilot program in partnership with family caregivers and agencies and organizations in the Hudson Valley and the Capital District. In the second year, Train-the-Trainer sessions were conducted for additional family caregivers and agency/organization staff so that the ProActive Caring stress reduction training could be offered in local communities across New York State. Finally, in the third year, the ProActive Caring e-Manual was developed in collaboration with Mindy Scirri, Ph.D., and Theresa Drum of the Parent Network of Western New York (PNWNY). In addition, the ProActive Caring Program developed tools and resources to facilitate online and home-based learning, i.e., ProActive Caring - School Exchange, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, and the ProActive Caring Digital Resource Center (PCDRC).
In both the planning of the ProActive Caring program and implementation of these stages, the ProActive Caring team was guided by regional Advisory Councils made up of key stakeholders who provided important insights and feedback. A statewide group, drawn largely from the regional Advisory Councils, will help explore long-term funding and resources and provide leadership in supporting the ProActive Caring program.
We would especially like to thank the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (NYS-DDPC) for funding a Caregiver Support Program focused on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Most support programs for family caregivers center on the needs of individuals for whom they are caring, rather than on the needs of the caregivers themselves. It is a tribute to New York State that the DDPC recognized the importance of caregiver well-being.
Lastly, the ProActive Caring team would like to thank YOU for downloading the ProActive Caring e-Manual, found on the ProActive Caring Digital Resource Center (PCDRC), and participating in this program. We wish you the best as you undertake a Mindfulness practice and take your first steps to a greater sense of well-being and better health!