Background on the National Family Caregiver Support Program
The enactment of the Older Americans Act Amendments of 2000 (public Law 106-501) established an important new program, the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP). 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 caregivers. These services include:
- Information to caregivers about available services
- Assistance to caregivers in gaining access to services
- Individual counseling, organization of support groups, and caregiver training to caregivers in making decisions and solving problems relating to their caregiving roles
- Supplemental services, on a limited basis, to complement the care provided by caregivers
- Respite care to enable caregivers to be temporarily relieved from their caregiving responsibilities
The eligible populations consist of family caregivers of older adults and grandparents and relative caregivers, age 55 years or older, of children no older than age 18 (including grandparents who are sole caregivers of grandchildren and those individuals who are affected by mental retardation or who have developmental disabilities). The statute requires priority consideration to persons in greatest social and economic need (with particular attention to low-income individuals) and older individuals providing care and support to persons with mental retardation and related developmental disabilities.
Baltimore City Commission on Aging & Retirement Education National Family Caregiver Support Program Mission is to provide Information, Assistance, Education, Training & Support, through a broad range of services and activities that enhance the quality of life for caregivers and their loved ones throughout Baltimore City.
Who Are the Caregivers?
"One of the biggest dilemmas for people in the field of caregiving and for grassroots organizations has been how to reach family caregivers. The majority of family caregivers don't self-identify. They don't know that they are caregivers." A 2001 survey was conducted on Caregiver Self-Identification by the National Family Caregivers Association, a grass roots advocacy organization for family caregivers of people with disabilities and older adults.
Most family members who help older people don't see themselves as caregivers. Yet a caregiver is anyone who helps an older person with household chores, errands, personal care, or finances. You are a caregiver if you do any of these things. You are a family caregiver if you help someone who cannot do or is limited from doing any of these things for him/herself.
- Drive an older family member to and from medical appointments
- Communicate with health care professionals
- Contact community service organizations such as the Area Agency on Aging, Meals on Wheels, or the Alzheimer's Association
- Help arrange for home health care or hospice services
- Assist someone to pay bills
- Help someone clean his/her home or arrange for housecleaning
- Do home repairs or arrange for someone else to do so
- Do yard work or hire someone else to do so
There are only four kinds of people in this world:
Those who have been caregivers;
those who currently are caregivers;
those who will be caregivers;
and those who will need caregivers.
-- Rosalynn Carter