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Sarah Toevs Shares Best Practices for Caregivers in Rural Communities

Sarah Toevs Portrait

Sarah Toevs, a professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Health and director of the Center for the Study of Aging, was invited to present at the AARP Livable Communities Rural Livability Workshop in Portland, Maine, in June.

Older adults are overrepresented in rural and less populated communities, and the programs and caregivers serving them have unique needs. Using the Idaho Caregiver Alliance as a case study, Toevs presented on best practices to increase connection and coordination between caregivers, community partners and statewide resources, as well as the importance of celebration.

With a mission centered on collaboration, the alliance engages more than 400 family caregivers and individuals who work to support family caregivers across the lifespan. To increase coordination across Idaho for state-level initiatives and stakeholders, the alliance developed a state action plan for family caregivers.

“The plan is supported by members of the Idaho Legislature and the alliance provides regular updates to policymakers,” said Toevs.

Toevs also shared their practice of celebrating the health and wellbeing of family caregivers through annual conferences – the caregiver conference in Boise is attended by more than 200 family caregivers each year. Caregivers across the state also connect through regional summits.

The rural livability workshop provided opportunities for networking and learning with a range of presentations on intergenerational communities, strengthening transportation options, improving housing affordability and choice, enhancing community infrastructure and others.

After learning of the work underway in Idaho, AARP Vice President for Health and Caregiving Bob Stephen joined the alliance for a summit in north Idaho, and he is interested in potentially hosting an AARP Livable Communities Rural Livability Workshop in Boise in the future.

To learn more about the Idaho Caregiver Alliance and to take part in their Advocacy Challenge, visit