Families are the mainstay underpinning long-term care for older persons in the United States. According to the most recent National Long-Term Care Survey, more than 7-million persons are informal caregivers providing unpaid help to older adults who live in the community and have at least one limitation in their activities of daily living
In a response to the growing needs of caregivers, The National Family Caregiver Support Program was established through the Older Americans Act amendments of 2000. The program is designed to increase available supportive services to family caregivers. The program requires states to give priority consideration to persons in greatest social and economic need, with particular attention to low-income, minority individuals; and older individuals age 60+ providing care and support to persons with mental retardation and other related developmental disabilities.
The program calls for all states, working in partnership with area agencies on aging and local community-service providers to have five basic services for family care givers, including:
- Information to caregivers about available services.
- Assistance to caregivers in gaining access to supportive services.
- Individual counseling, organization of support groups, and caregiver training to caregivers to assist them in making decisions and solving problems relating to their care giving roles.
- Respite care to enable caregivers to be temporally relieved from their care giving responsibilities.
- Supplemental services, on a limited basis, to compliment the care provided by caregivers.
- Family caregivers of older age 60+
- Grandparents age 60+ and relative caregivers age 60+ of children not more than 18 of age (including grandparents who are sole caregivers of grandchildren and those individuals who are affected by mental retardation or who have developmental disabilities)