THE CHALLENGES OF FAMILY-PROVIDED RESPITE CARE
Family Caregiving is Common – 65.7 million caregivers make up 29% of the U.S. adult population providing care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged.1
Family Caregiving is Expensive – The value of unpaid family caregivers will likely continue to be the largest source of long-term care services in the U.S., and the aging population 65+ will more than double between the years 2000 and 2030, increasing to 71.5 million from 35.1 million in 2000.2
Family Caregiving is Hard – 40% to 70% of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression with about a quarter to half of these caregivers meeting the diagnostic criteria for major depression.3
At the North Central Area Agency on Aging, we know what it means to be a family caregiver and we are here to help. With two programs designed to provide person-centered respite care services we can help keep families strong and communities together.
For the purposes of our programs, the term “caregiver” means an adult relative or non-relative, or another individual who is an informal provider of in-home and community care. All applicants must have an identified caregiver in order to receive services. Services are funded through National Family Caregiver Support Program or the Connecticut Statewide Respite Care Program.
CT NATIONAL FAMILY CAREGIVER SUPPORT PROGRAM
The CT National Family Caregiver Support Program (CT NFCSP), enacted by the year 2000 Amendments to the Older Americans Act, provides a broad-based program to assist caregivers in our region to maintain their family members at home. To reach its goal of maximizing caregiver independence and autonomy, the program offers a variety of services that address family caregivers’ most common un-met needs: Information, Assistance, Counseling, Caregiver Training, Respite Care, and Support for Grandparents raising their grandchildren.
In addition to these components, the CT NFCSP provides for “Supplemental Services”. Supplemental Services a.k.a. “Gap Filling Services” are items and/or services for which there are no other reimbursement opportunities such as but not limited to dentures, hearing aids, lift chairs, etc. Studies indicate that these and other un-reimbursed expenses for family caregivers total an estimated $1.5 billion annually. With the help of Supplemental Services, NCAAA seeks to defray this cost of caring.
STATEWIDE RESPITE CARE PROGRAM
The Statewide Alzheimer’s Respite Care Program, one of the few wholly state-funded programs offered at the North Central Area Agency on Aging, provides short-term respite care services for families worn down by the 24/7 needs of family members with cognitive impairment. Studies indicate that people with moderate dementia have been able to delay needing institutional care by nearly a year when their family members receive caregiver support services such as counseling, information, and community-based services due to a statistically significant reduction in caregiver stress.
WE’LL HELP DETERMINE THE RESPITE CARE PROGRAM THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
The program selected for you will depend on your meeting the eligibility requirements for the program and the types of services requested. NCAAA Care Management Staff will help to identify the program best suited to your needs. In general, having the following information available will be most helpful to us in serving you:
- Are you caring for an individual who has a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, any other related dementia, or an irreversible condition causing cognitive impairment?
- Is the person you are caring for over or under the age of 60?
- Is the person you are caring for in need of assistance with at least 2 Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, transferring, toileting, eating, or feeding him/herself?
- Please have basic financial information available as well. Monthly income and liquid assets will be most helpful.
- The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP (2009), Caregiving in the U.S. National Alliance for Caregiving. Washington, DC.
- Coughlin, J., (2010). Estimating the Impact of Caregiving and Employment on Well-Being: Outcomes & Insights in Health Management, Vol. 2; Issue 1.
- Zarit, S. (2006) Assessment of Family Caregivers: A Research Perspective in Family Caregiver Alliance (Eds.), Caregiver Assessment: Voices and Views from the Field. Report from a National Consensus Development Conference (Vol. II) (pp. 12-37). San Francisco: Family Caregiver Alliance.