By Mac Cerullo
---- — AMESBURY — The Friends of the Amesbury Council on Aging has been awarded a $64,306 grant by the Tufts Health Plan Foundation to help continue the Senior Center’s Amesbury Caregiver Essentials program.
Now entering its third year, the Amesbury Caregiver Essentials (ACE) program provides resources and assistance to local caregivers of elderly residents. The Tufts Health Plan Foundation has supported the program since its inception, and Annmary Connor, director of the Amesbury Council on Aging, said she is grateful that the program has continued to receive the organization’s support.
“This is the third year we’ve received the grant,” Connor said. “We are very fortunate that they have chosen Amesbury as one of their awardees.”
Specifically, the ACE program will use the grant funds to partner with local outreach workers to identify and meet the needs of approximately 200 local caregivers. Connor said that wellness seminars, evidence-based caregiver support programs and monthly support groups will also be funded, allowing caregivers to come together and provide each other with emotional, social and practical support.
“This year we’re doing the Family Caregiver Support Groups in Amesbury, Groveland and Newbury, and the programs are free,” Connor said.
The program will support caregivers in 10 local communities, including Amesbury, West Newbury, Newbury, Newburyport, Rowley, Salisbury, Merrimac, Boxford, Georgetown and Groveland, Connor said. It will also fund a part-time social day program called the Chronicle Club, which will provide respite for caregivers and enable at-risk elders to become more engaged.
The Friends of the Amesbury Council on Aging was one of 39 nonprofit groups to receive a total of $1.5 million in funding through the Tufts Health Plan Foundation’s second funding cycle of 2013. The $64,306 grant was an increase over the last two awards, when Amesbury received roughly $24,000 and $58,000 respectively, Connor said.
Other local organizations to receive funding included the Merrimack Valley Food Bank and Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc.