Relief for the Caregiver

When the bill passed the House, Rep. Ferguson, whose own father was a caregiver for his ill mother for 6 years said, "Today's action by the House of Representatives represents not only an important victory for family caregivers nationwide, but it also sends America's caregivers a clear message: Your selfless sacrifice is appreciated, and help is on the way."

Despite this success, access to quality respite care is difficult, especially for individuals with certain disabilities or chronic illness such as behavioral, mental health or severe medical conditions, or in some rural and urban centers where resources may be scarce. Shortages of trained providers and quality respite programs, limited family resources to pay for respite care, restrictive program eligibility criteria based on age, income or disability, and fragmented and duplicative systems, keep many families from accessing the respite they need.

The Lifespan Respite Care Act of 2006 is based on model state lifespan respite programs that have successfully addressed all of these barriers. Three states have enacted legislation to implement Lifespan Respite Programs (OR, NE, WI), which establish state and local infrastructures for developing, providing, coordinating and improving access to respite for all caregivers, regardless of age, disability or family situation. Oklahoma has also implemented a successful Lifespan Respite program. The Lifespan Respite Care Act of 2006 will help establish respite as a national priority and provide the assistance states and localities need to move forward.

Reprinted with permission from 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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Last Modified Date: March 05, 2013

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