Are you a Family Caregiver?
Family Caregivers provide the vast majority of the assistance that enables older Arizonans and those with disabilities to live independently in their homes and communities. Caregivers can also include grandparent raising grandchildren.
Caregivers are predominately female (66%), although the number of male caregivers is rising. Among caregivers age 18 and older, the average age of today’s caregiver is 49, and the average age of today’s care recipient is 69. Almost half of all caregivers are over age 50, making them more vulnerable to a decline in their own health, and one-third describe their own health as fair to poor.
Based on 2007 estimates, over 600,000 Arizonans provide almost $7 billion worth of unpaid, "informal" care each year for adult family members and friends with chronic illnesses or conditions that prevent them from handling daily activities such as bathing, managing medications or preparing meals on their own. Family caregivers provide over 75% of caregiving support in the United States, and it would cost about $375 billion to replace that care with paid services.
Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP) Description
The enactment of the Older Americans Act Amendments of 2000 established the Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP), and the program was reauthorized and updated in 2006 (Public Law 109-365). The program was developed by the Administration on Aging (AoA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The program calls for partnerships with local area agencies on aging and faith- and community-service providers and tribes to offer five direct services that best meet the range of caregivers’ needs, including:
- Information to caregivers about available services.
- Assistance to caregivers in gaining access to supportive services.
- Individual counseling, organization of support groups, and caregiver training to assist caregivers in making decisions and solving problems relating to their roles.
- Respite care to enable caregivers to be temporarily relieved from their caregiving responsibilities.
- Supplemental services, on a limited basis, to complement the care provided by caregivers.
These services work in conjunction with other State and Community-Based Services to provide a coordinated set of supports. Studies have shown that these services can reduce caregiver depression, anxiety, and stress and enable them to provide care longer, thereby avoiding or delaying the need for costly institutional care. Because Caregivers play such an important role, services that sustain a Caregiver’s role and maintain their emotional and physical health are an important component of any home and community-based care system.
Family Caregiver Support Program Eligibility
How FCSP Contributes To Caregiver Safety & Self-Sufficiency
Family caregivers face substantial stresses and burdens as a consequence of caregiving obligations. Prolonged caregiving can adversely affect one’s physical and psychological health, current and future employment status and earning capability, ability to balance the needs of older parents and younger family members, and the ability to meet personal needs.
Because caregivers play such an important role, services that sustain their role and maintain their emotional and physical health are an important component of any home and community-based care system. The services of the FCSP provide access to training that helps caregivers understand how the stresses of caregiving can affect them and offers respite care services to allow them to take a break from their caregiving role when needed.
Arizona Family Caregiver Resources & Links
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