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In November, Congress passed the National Family Caregiver Support Program, the first federal legislation to target the needs of America’s family caregivers. The act provides $125 million in the first year of the five-year program.
The legislation, which was a part of the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, calls for the establishment of services that would help family caregivers. Program services are expected to include counseling and respite care, as well as more traditional information and referral services.
"It’s great to see this legislation passed. It is the first real federal recognition of the needs of America’s family caregivers," says Suzanne Mintz, president and co-founder of the National Family Caregivers Association. "I’m particularly pleased because caregiver advisory services are part of the program. Caregivers need help in making decisions, especially during times of crisis. Getting information and referrals is valuable, but having someone to talk to about decisions is what really makes a difference."