Improvements in support to caregivers

Caregiver helping an old woman walk

Nearly two-thirds of caregivers for older adults are women — usually the wives or daughters of those who need support.1 These women provide long-term care and support, from grocery shopping and housecleaning to help in dressing and eating. Caregivers might also help with finances or make medical decisions. More than half of informal caregivers are also working at full-time or part-time jobs.

To meet the diverse needs of the growing numbers of older people in the United States, the Older Americans Act of 1965 created the National Aging Network, which is headed by AOA. Reauthorized in 2006, the National Aging Network is the primary way community-based services for older Americans and their caregivers are organized and coordinated.

In 2000, Congress recognized the need to support caregivers and created the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) through AOA and the National Aging Network. The NFCSP offers caregivers information, assistance, counseling and training, and respite care. By 2010, the NFCSP served over 700,000 caregivers.

Through the Lifespan Respite Care Act of 2006, ACL, through the AOA, provides funding for state and local health departments to expand respite services for caregivers and provide relief for planned and emergency care.2

The Eldercare Locator, a public service of AOA, is a nationwide service that connects older Americans and their caregivers with information on senior services. The service began telephone operation in 1991, and its website launched in 2001.

Sources

  1. LongTermCare.gov, Who Will Provide Your Care?
  2. ACL, AOA, 2013 Lifespan Respite Care Programs: Grants to New States