Relief for the Caregiver
The Lifespan Respite Act
Family caregivers are providing 80% of long-term care in the United States. This level of care has been valued at $306 billion a year, more than what is spent on nursing home and paid home care combined.
The Lifespan Respite Task Force, a coalition of over 170 national, state, and local organizations, applauds the signing of The Lifespan Respite Care Act of 2006 (HR 3248 ) into law. The bill was introduced and championed in the US House of Representatives by Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-NJ) and James Langevin (D-RI). A companion bill in the Senate was cosponsored by Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Senator John Warner (R-VA). The Lifespan Respite Task Force includes a diverse group of national and state organizations: state respite and crisis care coalitions; health and community social services; disability, mental health, education, faith, family caregiving and support groups; groups from the child advocacy and the aging community; and abuse and neglect prevention groups.
The new law would authorize $289 million over five years for state grants to develop Lifespan Respite Programs to help families access quality, affordable respite care. Lifespan respite programs are defined in the Act "as coordinated systems of accessible, community-based respite care services for family caregivers of children and adults with special needs." Specifically, the law authorizes funds for:
- Development of state and local lifespan respite programs
- Planned or emergency respite care services
- Training and recruitment of respite care workers and volunteers
- Caregiver training
Reprinted with permission from Agingcare.com. AgingCare.com is a website and online forum for people caring for their aging parents. Caregivers can communicate with each other, get answers from elder care experts and access news, information and products related to caregiving.
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