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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  
July 20th, 2004 Contact: AoA Press Office
(202) 401-4541

National Family Caregiver Support Program Expands Outreach and Services to Caregivers

As America and the world sympathized with Nancy Reagan over the loss of her husband, former President Reagan, it served as a poignant reminder that as many as 44.4 million Americans tackle the job of caregiver for a loved one. Family caregivers provide the vast majority of assistance that enables older people to live independently in their homes and communities. Many caregivers do it alone, with limited or no relief.

The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP), a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging, helps caregivers obtain vital information and supportive services in their community. NFCSP is administered through the National Aging Services Network, which includes 56 State Units on Aging; 655 Area Agencies on Aging; 244 tribal organizations and about 30,000 local service providers.

Established in November 2000 as a new component of the Older Americans Act, NFCSP has made significant progress in addressing the special needs of caregivers. In the first two full years of the program’s implementation, over 12 million people received information about the program, and many individuals have sought assistance through the National Aging Services Network.

Data for fiscal year (FY) 2002 and preliminary data for FY 2003 indicate that State and area agencies have already provided services to significant numbers of caregivers. They provided access assistance services to over 440,000 in 2002, and increased that by 20% to over 530,000 in 2003. They provided counseling, training and support group services to 180,000 caregivers in 2002, and to almost 280,000 in 2003. Over 75,000 caregivers received respite services in 2002, and this number increased by over 140% in 2003 to approximately 180,000 caregivers.

The most significant increase occurred for supplemental services. In FY 2003, States and area agencies provided supplemental services to 212,000 caregivers, which is 278% higher than the 56,000 caregivers who received these services in FY 2002. Although the FY 2003 data is preliminary, we expect that the final data reported for all units providing service will reflect that a greater number of caregivers were served in FY 2003.

Under the National Family Caregiver Support Program, AoA also awarded grants to conduct research and to test new and creative ways of providing services to caregivers. To-date, 40 projects have been funded--most for a three-year period. As the 40 projects AoA funded come to a close, AoA and its grantees will release educational materials and research findings.

Some informative materials are already available. NFCSP grantees have produced several products that have been distributed nationwide. These include:

  • Easter Seals, Inc. has developed a video with tips for caregivers to make the task of transporting their relative easier. Transportation Solutions for Caregivers: A Starting Point is available in English, Spanish and Cantonese. A second product produced under this grant is A Solutions Package for Volunteer Transportation Programs. In addition, Senior Transportation Options was released to assist older adults in identifying potential transportation services available to them in most communities.

  • The Hospice Institute of the Florida Suncoast produced and distributed Caregiving at Life’s End: The National Train-the-Trainer Program, a comprehensive training program, distributed nationwide, which focused on end- of-life issues faced by caregivers. This grantee also conducted a series of comprehensive train-the-trainer workshops for leaders who could then offer the course to caregivers in their communities.

  • Generations United (GU) has developed a series of fact sheets for grandparents and other relative caregivers of children. These fact sheets focus on services available to these caregivers under the NFCSP, legal and housing issues and other topics of concern to them. They have also produced and disseminated A Guide to the National Family Caregiver Support Program and Its Inclusion of Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children. GU has also identified and trained regional experts in kinship care who can assist local provider agencies reaching this population.

  • United Cerebral Palsy of Southern Arizona has produced video titled Grand families: Kincare Givers of Southern Arizona. This video was produced in English and Spanish and is used to inform caregivers who care for relatives of services they can access.

  • Over the forthcoming year, AoA plans to release more caregiver-related products and research findings from our grantees, including:

  • Family Caregiver Alliance, in conjunction with the National Conference of State Legislatures has conducted a national survey of all states and the District of Columbia to identify all sources of funding available for caregiving activities including the NFCSP, other Older Americans Act funds, Medicaid waivers and other state revenues. This will also include state trend analysis of new and expanded caregiver support services and state profiles on caregiving. This report will be released in November 2004.

  • National Alliance on Caregiving, in collaboration with the United Hospital Fund was funded by AoA to conduct a survey to determine the prevalence of caregiving in the United States by children ages 8-18. Research from Great Britain and Australia suggests that approximately 4 percent of the children in this cohort in their countries are providing caregiving support and services usually to a disabled parent or sibling. This report will be released in November 2004.

  • American Society on Aging, in collaboration with the American Nurses’ Association, National Association of Social Workers and the American Occupational Therapy Association will be releasing a Web-based, multi-media, self-study curriculum on caregiving for nurses, social workers and occupational therapists.

The NFCSP has made and continues to make significant progress in supporting caregivers who provide essential care for older persons in the United States. To find caregiving resources in your area, contact the Eldercare Locator toll-free at 1-800-677-1116, Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM (EST) or visit their Website http://www.eldercare.gov.




Last Modified: 12/31/1600