FCA Encouraged By Obama Administration's Caregiver Initiative
March 1, 2010
Family Caregiver Alliance is very encouraged by the Obama Administration's recognition of family caregivers and the need for increased funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program (Title IIIE of the Older Americans Act) and the Lifespan Respite program. We commend the Middle Class Task Force, headed by Vice President Joe Biden, for including family caregiver support as an initiative for the Fiscal Year 2011 budget, thus acknowledging the huge contributions caregivers make to providing long-term care to older adults and adults with disabilities.
The President's Fiscal Year 2011 budget includes a $48 million increase for the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP), a 30% increase for this program that has been level-funded at approximately $154.2 million for the past few years. It also includes a $2.5 million increase for the Lifespan Respite Care Act, a program that has only received one year of funding at $2.5 million. This "Caregiver Initiative" also includes a $50 million increase for home and community-based services offered under the Older Americans Act and a $2 million increase for Native American Caregiver Support.
Estimated to be over 44.4 million, family caregivers are the largest source of long-term care services in the United States. In 2009, more than three in ten U.S. households (31%) reported that at least one person served as an unpaid family caregiver in the previous 12 months. The economic value of the care provided by family caregivers totals $375 billion nationwide. Caregivers face compromised health, increased levels of depression, and depletion of financial resources.
The NFCSP and lifespan respite programs provide much-needed supports to family caregivers, including counseling and education, information and assistance, and a break from caregiving duties. It is critical that these services are available to all caregiving families so that they can remain healthy in their caregiving role, providing quality care to those who need it. Increased funding for the NFCSP, Lifespan Respite and other home and community-based support programs are important first steps in that direction.
About Family Caregiver Alliance
Founded in 1977, Family Caregiver Alliance offers programs at national, state and local levels to support and sustain the important work of families and friends caring for loved ones with chronic, disabling health conditions. Call (800) 445-8106 for more information.
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