The National Family Caregiver Support Program: Recognizing Family Caregivers as Consumers in Their Own Right
A recent study on the pioneering National Family Caregiver Support Program finds that over the past 15 years, the program has accelerated the development of local services and supports to help caregiving families. This is good news; before the NFCSP became law, only half the states reported providing respite care — one of the most pressing needs of families and friends who take on the caregiving role. That has begun to change, although greater progress needs to be made.
For employers big and small, the need to support workers who also provide unpaid care for a family member is a growing reality. Most family caregivers today — or an estimated 23.9 million workers — work at a paying job on top of their caregiving responsibilities.
Respite is one of the most pressing needs of families and friends who take on a caregiving role. The need for caregiver supportive services — including respite care — is only going to rise as the U.S. population ages.
Not a day goes by that I don’t meet someone who is caring for a parent, another adult family member or a close friend with a chronic, disabling or serious health condition. This unpaid family care — known as “family caregiving” — is almost universal today as our population ages.
This is a pivotal time. Converging sociodemographic trends and more complex care needs are contributing to historically unprecedented challenges in family care of older people in the U.S.
A recent study found that more than a quarter million participants attend an estimated 4,800 community-based adult day service (ADS) centers in the U.S. Although most participants are older people, more than one-third of ADS participants are younger than 65. Nearly one in three ADS participants has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.
Juggling work and family caregiving responsibilities is stressful, even overwhelming, because most workplaces aren't "caregiver friendly." I hear this all the time from my friends and colleagues who care for aging parents.
It's time to banish the word "informal" when referring to the care provided by family members and friends. It devalues their essential contributions and fails to capture the complexity of what they do.
The times, they are a-changing. Consumers and their family members are applauding a final rule for Medicaid home- and community-based services (HCBS) programs released last month by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). For the first time, CMS has formally recognized the importance of assessing the needs of family caregivers through new requirements for "person-centered care planning."
Fami ly caregivers wear many hats. They help their loved ones cope with the bewildering complexity and fragmentation of the long-term services and supports (LTSS) system. They often provide daily care, such as help with bathing or dressing, providing transportation to medical appointments, handling bills, preparing special diets, or managing multiple complex medications. They often do these tasks on top of other work and family responsibilities.
Search AARP Blogs