The VA Caregiver Support Program, in partnership with the Office of Connected Care, is now using Annie text messages to reach more Veteran caregivers. Annie is VA’s automated text message service designed to help Veterans follow their care plan and better manage their health. This initiative expands the use of Annie to promote self-care for caregivers in addition to Veterans.
Both caregivers of Veterans and Veterans caring for another person are eligible for the program if they currently receive services from VA and have a VA chart. Those who enroll are assigned the Caregiver Stress Protocol, which sends messages three times each week that are educational, motivational, or offer activities to help manage stress. Additional caregiver protocols that send other types of Annie messages are planned for the near future.
Caregivers who helped test the program say receiving Annie messages was helpful. One noted, “Caregiving is very lonely, so a phone call or text saying, ‘Hey, how are you today? I'm thinking about you,’ makes a big difference.”
Annie works with a basic cellphone, smartphone or other mobile device that can receive text messages. To enroll, contact your local Caregiver Support Coordinator.
For more information about Annie messages for caregivers, read the article on page 11 of the Winter 2020 edition of The Rural Connection newsletter.