National Family Caregivers Month: Because Caregivers Matter
What began as a celebration of family caregivers during the week of Thanksgiving in 1997 has grown into a month-long acknowledgement and celebration of family caregivers—those extraordinary people who make such a difference in the lives of their loved ones. Family caregivers provide more long-term care in our country than any other group, by far.
Family caregivers’ roles vary greatly, ranging from transportation, meal preparation and housekeeping to more complex help, such as medication management, wound care, and financial planning. What’s more, family caregivers are often the single constant in lives fraught with rapid change and uncertainty. Their commitment may be the only thing preventing the long-term institutional placement of medically fragile people. Supporting family caregivers is essential.
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) is proud to support the innovative Lifespan Respite Care Program, which provides states the opportunity to improve access to respite services for family caregivers, no matter the age of the person they are caring for.
State-based Lifespan Respite Care Programs are coordinated systems of accessible, community-based services for family caregivers of people with special needs, no matter their age.
For the past 12 years, the Administration on Aging, now part of ACL, has funded states to provide support to caregivers of people who are 70 years and older through the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP).
NFCSP supports state programs that include:
- Information and referral to programs in local communities,
- Help finding respite care so a caregiver can take care of personal business or just take a break,
- High-quality advice and training, to learn how to be an even better caregiver, and
- Support groups to discover they are not alone in the challenges they face–and even find a safe place to share a joke and a shoulder to cry on.