Family Caregivers Month

         national family Caregivers Month caregiver couple


Thank you to all Family Caregivers!

ECIAAA is devoted to providing the needed resources to support family caregivers and grandparents/relatives raising children in need. ECIAAA provides Older Americans Act funding to a network of Caregiver Advisory Services in east central Illinois. Caregiver Advisors have been designated to serve as your local expert on all caregiving issues. Please refer to the link below for a list of ECIAAA’s Caregiver Advisory Programs: (ECIAAA Caregiver Advisor List).

Please take a moment to review the following posting from Edwin Walker, Acting Assistant Secretary for Administration of Community Living ‘kicking-off’ National Family Caregivers Month.

Take Care to Give Care: ACL’s Mission to Support Families and Family Caregivers

By Edwin L. Walker, Acting Assistant Secretary for Aging and Acting Administrator, Administration for Community Living

November is upon us once again, that time of year when family and friends come together to give thanks, to reflect on the many blessings we have received, and to remind ourselves of what is truly important. For me, family is very important. Families, in all their many forms, are the cornerstone of our society, our connections to the past and our bridges to the future. For persons of any age with a disability or other long-term support need, loved ones are often the main reason they are able to remain independent at home and active in their community.

Family caregivers are the backbone of America’s long-term care system and are often referred to as selfless, tireless and courageous. Stepping in to provide care for a friend or loved one can be a rewarding and uplifting experience and reflects the very best in human nature. While family caregivers are all these things and more, they are human nonetheless. They are not immune to stress, fatigue, burnout or illness. In fact, research shows they may be more vulnerable in this regard. We know that, unless family caregivers stop to take a break, to care for their own needs, they are less likely to be able to continue in their roles indefinitely.

The theme for National Family Caregivers Month is especially noteworthy: “Take Care to Give Care.” Nothing could be truer. Anyone who has provided care for another knows the importance of stopping periodically to take care of him or herself, something often easier said than done. Family caregivers must be encouraged and supported at every step to ensure they are taking proper care of themselves, physically, emotionally and spiritually. This year’s theme is also particularly relevant to the mission and purpose of the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to “maximize the independence, well-being and health of older adults, people with disabilities, and their families and caregivers.”

The centerpiece of ACL’s efforts to support family caregivers is the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP). For the past 16 years, the NFCSP has enabled states and communities to build a base of essential services and supports for family caregivers, including much needed information about available services, respite to provide a break from caregiving, and education and training to teach caregivers the skills they need to provide care more effectively. In 2016, the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act expanded access to the NFCSP, making its services available to older parents of adult children with a disability. What is more, a new report (PDF) shows that the NFCSP has been a true catalyst for states and communities to address the needs of family caregivers in flexible, creative and person-centered ways.

This year, ACL continued to make progress in meeting the respite and support needs of family caregivers of persons of all ages with a disability, including those caring for people with dementia. The Lifespan Respite Program, created 10 years ago, received an additional $1 million in funding, allowing ACL to expand the program to two more states and providing supplemental funding to six states, allowing them to provide additional and much-needed respite services. To date, 35 states and DC have received grants to build and expand systems of accessible, high-quality respite services to family caregivers across the age and disability spectrum. The Alzheimer’s Disease Supportive Services Program and the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative—Specialized Supportive Services program continue to build and expand dementia capability in states and communities while filling service gaps identified by the National Alzheimer’s Project Act Advisory Council.  Presently, programs in 28 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are supporting caregivers through the provision of direct services including evidence-based trainings and evidence-informed interventions designed to support caregivers through support groups and respite services.

As the current Administration comes to a close, my ACL colleagues and I look back on all we as the aging and disability networks have accomplished on behalf of older adults, people with disabilities and the families that support them. We are excited about the future. We look forward to new opportunities to support our networks and to grow and shape programs and services to better meet the needs of families, family caregivers and the people they support.


Lewin Group:

National Family Caregiver Support Program: Final Report

Websites for Family Caregivers

Learn More: ACL Programs

Nonprofit Organization for Caregivers

 banner caregiver month

Caregivers: Holidays and Make Yourself A Priority, Too

 Click HERE to read Holiday Hints: Alzheimer's Caregiving Tips 



e-Update from the National Institute on Aging

Have you let taking care of yourself fall off the to-do list? It’s time to put YOU back on top! Taking care of your physical and emotional needs is one of the most important things you can do as a caregiver. Read and share this infographic to learn more about taking care of yourself while caring for others:



National Institute on Aging


January 2017 Special Feature

Spotlight On Healthy Aging-Evidence Based Programs And

Julie Bobitt, PhD

Julie Bobitt, PhD

Assistant Director, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Program

College of Applied Health Sciences

University of Illinois

Julie lives in Forsyth, has two children, and works at the university of Illinois in urbana, champaign.  she is currently completing a health and aging policy fellowship and has loved learning about the policy process in d.c. julie loves aging policy and believes we all need to be advoctes for older adults.
Julie has been working in the field of aging/gerontology for over 20 years and feels/hopes that she can contribute what she knows, and do, for the greater good of the ECIAAA.  She would like to expand her knowledge about what is happening throughout communities in central Illinois.  While policy is a great thing, Julie adds that it happens at a higher level and trickles down from national to state to local levels.  Being on the ECIAAA Advisory Council keeps her connected to what is happening on the ground – which is where policy plays out.  She stresses that programs happening at the ground level should be informing policy as equally as policy directs programming. 
Julie would have lunch with her mother because she has so many questions about life on which she would love to have her perspective. In her limited spare time, Julie enjoys reading, exercising (particularly walking and biking), and spending time watching her children play sports in high school and on traveling teams.
Julie has served on the ECIAAA Advisory Council since 2009.



(Click on picture to view publication)

 (Click on picture to view publication)             


February Special Feature

In celebration of Black History Month: African-American left indelible mark on both psychiatry and Alzheimer’s research

March 1, 2008

Solomon Carter Fuller, MD, examining samples with a microscope

Solomon Carter Fuller’s life story is a remarkable example of striving and accomplishment. He was the Nation’s first black psychiatrist, and his name will be forever associated with Alzheimer’s disease research. According to Creighton Phelps, Ph.D., director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Centers Program at the National Institute on Aging, “Solomon Carter Fuller was a pioneer in more ways than one. As a contemporary of Dr. Alzheimer, Dr. Fuller’s work helped support Alzheimer’s initial conclusion that dementia is caused by disease, not aging. Dr. Fuller performed landmark research that would help shape the burgeoning field of neuropathology. He accomplished all this against tremendous odds.”

During and after a distinguished career, Dr. Fuller received wide recognition for his groundbreaking work in neuropathology and psychiatry. Dr. Annelle Primm, director of Minority and National Affairs at the American Psychiatric Association (APA), has described Dr. Fuller as “way ahead of his time.”

Dr. Fuller attained considerable success at a time when African Americans faced many obstacles, He had good reason to be proud of his achievements, but according to a Boston psychiatrist who knew him, conceit and self-satisfaction were not in Dr, Fuller’s nature. Rather, he was a self-effacing, inspirational teacher, researcher, and mental health practitioner who cared deeply about his work and approached each day with good cheer and optimism.

A Horatio Alger story

The grandson of slaves, Dr. Fuller was born in Monrovia, Liberia, in 1872. At age 17, young Solomon journeyed to America to continue his education. Four years after his arrival, he graduated with an A.B. degree from Livingstone College in Salisbury, NC. He received his medical degree from Boston University (BU) School of Medicine in 1897. After graduation, Dr. Fuller accepted an appointment at Westborough State Hospital for the Insane, near Boston—the start of a long association. At Westborough, he worked as a pathologist for 22 years—rising to chief pathologist—and then as a consultant for an additional 23 years.

In 1899, Dr. Fuller was appointed part-time instructor in pathology at BU. By 1919, he was associate professor of neuropathology (a recent branch of the field). Dr. Fuller became the acting chair of the Neurology Department in 1928. He served in that capacity until 1933, when he retired after being passed over for the appointment as chair. He felt that his skin color was a factor in the decision.

Pioneering work in Alzheimer’s disease

Alois Alzheimer

In 1904 and 1905, Dr. Fuller worked under Alois Alzheimer at the University of Munich. He was one of five foreign doctors invited to assist Dr. Alzheimer in his investigation of the pathology of mental illnesses. Dr. Alzheimer relied on his research assistants to carry out much of his lab work. This gave Dr. Fuller a golden opportunity to learn about neuropathology. Soon after that period, Dr. Alzheimer reported his discovery of the disease that bears his name.

Back in America, Dr. Fuller spent long hours in his lab at Westborough concentrating on photographing and analyzing brain tissue from the cadavers of people diagnosed with various mental illnesses. Dr. Fuller found plaques composed of amyloid protein and tangles of neurofibrils—threadlike parts of neurons, in the brain tissue of some subjects, including people with “senile dementia,” which was considered a form of insanity. He was one of the first people to describe neurofibrillary tangles and to use the term “amyloid.”

In 1907, the American Journal of Insanity (AJI), later the American Journal of Psychiatry, published Dr. Fuller’s “A study of the neurofibrils in dementia paralytica, dementia senilis, chronic alcoholism, cerebral lues and microcephalic idiocy” (AJI 63: 415-46813, 1907). In the abstract, he observed:

“The writer believes… after due consideration of the objections which have been raised, that alterations in the neurofibrils which might well be considered pathological, may be demonstrated in the cerebral cortex of persons dying insane.”

In 1911, AJI published his paper on plaques in the brains of older adults, “A study of miliary plaques found in brains of the aged” (AJI 68: 147, 1911), which noted, “The plaques were the deposits in brain tissue of a chemical substance resulting from pathological metabolism of nervous elements.”

Due recognition

Recognition of Dr. Fuller’s importance to the field of psychiatry would transcend factors including race. His obituary was published in the New England Journal of Medicine after he died in 1953. In 1974, BU dedicated the Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center. Today, Dr. Fuller’s portrait hangs with those of psychiatry’s founding fathers at APA headquarters in Washington, DC.

Adds Taylor Harden, R.N., Ph.D., acting NIA deputy director, and assistant to the director for special populations, “Solomon Carter Fuller was a selfless, brilliant, innovative man and an exemplar for anyone who is considering a career in research, psychiatry, or medicine.”


Obtained this article from the National Institute on Aging Website.  (

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