Rosalynn Carter Institute and Blue Star Families to Explore Caregiving in Military Families

AMERICUS, GEORGIA – The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) is teaming up with Blue Star Families to promote and expand upon the 2020 Military Family Lifestyle Survey, an annual survey that analyzes the challenges and opportunities faced by military families. Prior to the survey going live, RCI worked with Blue Star Families to add new questions to better understand the experience of caregivers within military families. 

The survey is administered in collaboration with Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families and is in its final week of administration. Survey responses are open through this Friday, October 16, 2020.  

In addition to releasing a comprehensive report in early 2021, Blue Star Families has committed to working with RCI on a follow-up report that will delve more deeply into the caregiver experience, whether they’re caring for a veteran or another loved one. 

“We know that military families are grappling with a great deal of stress, especially during this year of uncertainty because of the pandemic. And we know that in many military families, caregiving is one of those additional burdens, but there is so much we do not know about who they are caring for and what supports they need,” said Dr. Jennifer Olsen, Executive Director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving. “We’re proud to partner with Blue Star Families, which has an impressive track record of learning from military families, and we will use what we discover about the experiences of caregivers in military families to drive change and progress in public policy.”  

Serving military families is a priority for RCI, which launched its signature military program, Operation Family Caregiver (OFC), nearly nine years ago. OFC provides free and confidential coaching to empower the families of returning service members and veterans to make decisions that will lead to improvements in their own lives. The program is tailored to the unique needs of military families. It helps caregivers find strength through their journey, so they feel fully capable of living their best lives, regardless of what life throws at them. 

Blue Star Families knows well the significant role that caregivers play in the health and resilience of a military family. The organization was founded in 2009 by military spouses, a population that often provides care to veterans and service members returning home with both visible and invisible wounds. The annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey is its flagship initiative, and this marks its 11th year. 

“The 2019 Military Family Lifestyle Survey pointed to family stability as a top issue for both military spouses and service members, but we have much more to learn about what that means and why it is the case,” said Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families. “We are excited to partner with the Rosalynn Carter Institute to identify what caregivers in military families need most.”