Family Caregiver Support

Today the population is living longer than ever before. Along with this aging trend has also come the desire for people to remain independent in their home even with chronic illness. The Family Caregiver Support Program is a program designed to identify, assist and support family caregivers with the task of taking care of their loved one in the home.

The number of households between 1987-1997 in the United States caring for family members or friends over the age of 50 tripled to over 22 million. It is now estimated that 44 million households participate as caregivers. Family caregiving, which is usually unpaid, now preoccupies one in every four households. It is estimated that family caregiving will provide approximately 80% of the care to older people so they can maintain their independence, delaying or by-passing nursing home stays. The estimated value of this "free service" that family caregivers provide to the health care industry is $306 billion in savings nationwide. Out of this enormous support to the older adult came a public outcry for information, assistance and services to give relief to the caregiver. It was determined by enabling the caregiver to remain emotionally and physically healthy, they would be able to continue the caregiving role for their loved one longer.

In 1999 during the re-authorization of the Older Americans Act came the National Family Caregiver Support Program. This program calls for all states with the partnership of the Area Agency on Aging to administer this program in five areas.

Administration Areas

  • Information
    To identify caregivers in the area and to identify what services are available for caregivers. A caregiver is defined as a person who is assisting another person to live independent in their home. This may be:
    • Spouse caring for a spouse
    • Children caring for or assisting aging parent(s)
    • Children caring for or assisting aging parent(s) along with raising their own children
    • Children caring for or assisting aging parent(s) for long distance with or without the assistance of paid caregivers
    • Grandparents over the age of 60 caring for or raising their grandchildren under the age of 18
    • Neighbor or friend caring for or assisting an aging neighbor or friend
    • Parents of or for disabled children
  • Assistance
    Aiding the caregiver to gain access to services that can assist them in their caregiving role. This is identified as the Care Management program of the Area Agency on Aging.
  • Individual/Group Support and Training
    Provide training and encourage the caregiver to participate in caregiver or disease specific support groups.
  • Respite Service
    Enables the caregiver to have temporary relief of the caregiving tasks by a paid caregiver so they may participate in activities of their choice to help keep themselves mentally and emotionally well.
  • Supplemental Services
    Identified services offered on a limited basis to compliment the care provided by the caregiver.

Want more information?

If you want to:

  • Help identify the caregivers in your community or in your business
  • Help or assist known caregivers
  • Establish a Caregiver Support Group in your community or area