Congress: Respite for family caregivers needs to be a national priority
Family caregivers, who often provide 24/7 care to children and adults with disabilities or chronic conditions, are the backbone of the US long-term services and supports system. However, without adequate support for themselves, family caregivers are at high risk for stress-related illnesses and depression and family well-being may be undermined by marital discord and strained family relationships. Respite care helps reduce the stress that can lead to serious physical and emotional strain on family caregivers, improve overall family well-being, help prevent abuse or neglect, and help avoid or delay more costly emergency room use and hospitalization as well as foster care, nursing home or other facility-based placements. Yet, close to 90% of the nation's 65 million family caregivers are not receiving respite services of any kind.
The 65 million family caregivers in the US need respite. It is among the most frequently requested support services, yet 90% of family caregivers are not receiving respite of any kind. The consequences can be serious. Without support, many family caregivers of children and adults with disabilities and chronic conditions face stress-related physical and emotional illnesses, marital discord, and even higher rates of mortality. The effect on government programs and on the overall economy can be devastating. Respite can help improve family well-being, the risk of abuse or neglect, and help avoid or delay more costly hospitalizations, emergency room use, or foster care and nursing home placements. Keep respite funding in place and make it easier for family caregivers to find, use and pay for respite when and where they need it.
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