In the United States, it’s common for family members to provide primary care support for their older relatives. In fact, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2017 Fact and Figures report, “eighty-three percent of the help provided to older adults in the United States comes from family members, friends or other unpaid caregivers.” But despite the widespread nature of this arrangement, these selfless individuals often receive very little formal support. But that might be about to change.
RAISE Family Caregivers Act
On December 19th, 2017, the RAISE Family Caregivers Act passed a House vote and now heads to the Senate for further consideration. Introduced by Greg Hopper from Missouri’s 3rd congressional district, the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage Family Caregivers act directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish an official Family Caregiving Strategy. The strategy will “identify recommended actions that Federal (under existing Federal programs), State, and local governments, communities, health care providers, long-term services and supports providers, and others are taking, or may take, to recognize and support family caregivers.”
Specifically the strategy seeks to:
- Promote adoption of person and family-centered care in health and long-term service and support settings.
- Improve assessment and service planning involving family caregivers and recipients.
- Offer more education and referral information for care coordination such as hospice care, palliative care, and advance planning services.
- Increase access to respite care.
- Address financial security and workplace issues.
The bill also directs the secretary to form an advisory council that will begin to address these questions. The council will consist of federal government representatives as well as members from diverse backgrounds including family caregivers, veterans, and the disabled. You can track the bill’s progress here.
Help Is Available Now
At Generations Home Care, we understand the unique challenges family caregivers face. The work – driven by love and responsibility – never really ends and provides little in the way of reward. Fortunately help is available. If you live in the Phoenix area, our caregivers can give you a much-needed break. Call 602-595-HOME (4663) for more information. Hopefully Congress will soon do their part to recognize and support the important work family caregivers do. But until that time, Generations Home Care will be here for you!