For some psychologists, practice, research and education are important means of minimizing the challenges of family caregiving. But it has been their roles as policy advocates and program developers, affecting the large systems that impact family caregivers’ lives, that has been their most gratifying work.
Psychologists can draw on their knowledge of policy, legislative strategies, leadership, and organizational dynamics to become active change agents. They serve family caregivers in this regard in these ways:
- Psychologists inform and advise policymakers and government agencies, as well as health-specific and caregiver organizations, on legislation and policies that can assist family caregivers including community-based supports, respite care and faith-based initiatives.
- Psychologists design and implement assessment tools to measure the impact of these policies and initiatives.
- Psychologists develop and oversee interprofessional prevention and intervention programs that aid family caregivers, as well as their loved ones with health problems or disability. They conduct empirical studies of these programs to demonstrate their efficacy.