Congress ended 2001 by boosting funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) by $16 million. How is this money used? While a portion of it goes towards grants, conferences and trainings, the bulk of the funds is allocated to states using a formula based on the population of individuals 70 years of age or older in each state.
This money is distributed to Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), which then provide direct services to caregivers or contract with agencies such as FCA to provide these services.
Programs include respite care, counseling, caregiver training and education, and can even include grants to assist caregivers in making home modifications, such as installing a ramp or other assistive technology.
AAAs have also been creative in trying to meet the needs of caregivers. While respite is critical for caregivers, other needs are important as well. For example, in Alabama an AAA used NFCSP funds to install indoor plumbing for a caregiver. Another AAA is helping to find someone to milk cows on a caregiver’s farm. These are real services that make a real difference in the day-to-day lives of caregivers, and help families continue to provide care at home to their loved ones as long as possible.
The $16 million increase in funding will help AAAs to increase the level of respite care and other services they provide. Call your local AAA or use the Eldercare locator at (800) 677-1116 or www.eldercare.gov to find out about services in your area. In California, contact your local Caregiver Resource Center or call FCA at (800) 445-8106.
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