Jan 30, 2010

Help on the Way for Sandwich Generation Caregivers ?

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By Bob DeMarco

Help on the Way for Sandwich Generation Caregivers ?

This week the Middle Class Task Force unveiled a series of initiatives in the President's 2011 budget that are aimed at helping the so-called "sandwich generation" and others.

Millions of Americans provide unpaid care to aging relatives – including approximately 23 million caregivers with jobs and 12 million who are also caring for their own children. That's why the Middle Class Task Force’s "squeeze" initiative includes help for family caregivers.
"AARP is grateful that the Middle Class Task Force has drawn attention to an issue that is deeply important to our members—the critical role of family caregivers and what we should be doing to help them. Approximately 65 million Americans provide care to a loved one, giving more than $375 billion worth of unpaid care each year—often at their own financial and emotional expense. Increasing support to these invaluable individuals would be an important step to help those who do so much to help others." -- Elinor Ginzler, AARP

"Vice President Biden’s Middle Class Task Force’s recommendation to increase funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program and Lifespan Respite, along with strengthening supportive services through Title III-B of the Older Americans Act, represents a huge investment in community-based programs that support the independence of older Americans and their caregivers. These funds will enable them to access and get the critical services that they need while avoiding unnecessary and more expensive institutional care or spending down to Medicaid. We applaud the work that has been done by the Administration that serves to strengthen long term living options through home and community-based services." --Sandy Markwood, CEO of National Association for Area Agencies on Aging

The extra funding proposed by the Task Force will allow nearly 200,000 additional caregivers to be served and 3 million more hours of respite care to be provided. It adds funding to programs that provide transportation help, adult day care, and in-home services including aides to help bathe and cook.
"Family caregivers who struggle each day with practical and financial challenges have been anxiously waiting for this issue to be brought to the national stage and for relief in their own homes and communities. For these families, assistance at any level can help delay nursing home placement and enhance caregiver well being. The proposed initiatives represent a welcome change in direction, from minimal or flatlined funding to amounts that will make a difference for hundreds of thousands of American families." --Eric Hall, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Alzheimers Foundation of America
"The National Alliance for Caregiving is proud to support the Middle Class Task Force and their efforts to support family caregivers. This is a wonderful addition to the National Family Caregiver Support Program and it is a perfect way to recognize these caregivers who on average spend 18 hours a week providing care. The funding for transportation, adult day care and other services under Title III b will also help family caregivers by assisting the older adult they are caring for. We are grateful to the Middle Class Task Force for bringing much needed public awareness to the family caregiver." --Gail Hunt, CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving
White House Announces Middle Class Task Force

President Barack Obama today announced the creation of a White House Task Force on Middle Class Working Families to be chaired by Vice President Joe Biden. The Task Force is a major initiative targeted at raising the living standards of middle-class, working families in America. It is comprised of top-level administration policy makers, and in addition to regular meetings, it will conduct outreach sessions with representatives of labor, business, and the advocacy communities.
President Obama said: "The strength of our economy can be measured by the strength of our middle class. That is why I have signed a memorandum to create the Task Force on Middle-Class Working Families – and why I have asked my Vice President to lead it. This is a difficult moment. But I believe, if we act boldly and swiftly, it can be an American moment - when we work through our differences and overcome our divisions to face this crisis."
Vice President Biden said: "America’s middle class is hurting. Trillions of dollars in home equity and retirement savings and college savings are gone. And every day, more and more Americans are losing their jobs. President Obama and I are determined to change this. Quite simply, a strong middle class equals a strong America. We can’t have one without the other. This Task Force will be an important vehicle to assess new and existing policies across the board and determine if they are helping or hurting the middle class. It is our charge to get the middle class – the backbone of this country – up and running again."
The Vice President and members of the task force will work with a wide array of federal agencies that have responsibility for key issues facing middle class and working families, and expedite administrative reforms, propose Executive orders, and develop legislative and policy proposals that can be of special importance to working families.
To visit the Middle Class Task Force website go here.

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room