Tuesday, March 10, 2009

National Council on Aging campaigns to increase funding for seniors

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is campaigning to increase funding under the Older Americans Act (OAA) - by 12%. This act, dating back to 1965, provides food, jobs and care for America's seniors. One of its most well-known program is Meals on Wheels, a key program in enabling seniors to remain independent in their homes. Unfortunately, 85% of states report a wait list for Meals on Wheels.

Funding under the OAA has remained level for the past 8 years. You can read about all the important programs being targeted for increased funding (at the NCOA link, end of my post).

I'll focus briefly on just one of the programs which would personally and positively impact me and other caregivers to aging parents. The National Family Caregiver Support program (NFCSP), under Title IIIE of the OAA, provides "services to help ease the burdens of caregivers, including respite care, counseling and supplemental services".

Some of the interesting facts about family caregivers include:

* Family caregivers provide 80% of non-institutional long-term care.
* The typical caregiver is a 46 year old woman, providing 18 hours of care for her mother
* The value of family caregiving services is estimated at $257 billion per year

Those of us who are (or have been) caregivers to our elderly parents:
* help keep our parents in an independent living situation, and thus reduce nursing home and Medicaid costs (good)
* cost our employers in lost productivity (not good)
* and most importantly, often sacrifice our physical and mental health in meeting all the demands of caregiving (really not good!!!)

This program would provide much needed support services to the caregivers out there.

To read detail about this funding campaign by the NCOA:

National Council of Aging (NCOA) Overview of Appropriations

To advocate for this and/or contact your congressional representatives:

National Council of Aging (NCOA) Advocacy Center