I recently read a report called “Averting the caregiving Crisis: An Update” put out in March 2012 by The Rosalynn Carter Institute For Caregiving. The original report done in January 2008 outlined 12 recommendations for addressing the caregiving crisis and included extensive review of programs designed to assist caregivers and specific strategies were proposed.
The current report looks at progress to date in the 12 areas and restates them as six strategic initiatives. They read like a dreamers dream and I hope that people in places of influence can take them seriously. Ultimately, it is a huge economic hardship and burden placed on our society for not having comprehensive systems in place for caring for the elderly, or ill, or those who can not care for themselves, that may inspire change in policy and programs.
Briefly the six strategies are:
- Educate the public
- Assure caregivers receive evidence-based, effective support services that target their identified needs.
- Support the translation of evidence-based caregiver programs into community settings
- Advocate for tax and public policy changes
- Target investments that lead to sustainable funding
- Provide leadership for coordination of efforts
The report acknowledges that without the contributions of family caregivers the health care system in the United States would be completely bankrupt. The report focuses on policy and funding to support current efforts of such agencies as
National Family Caregiver Support Program, Alzheimer’s Disease Supportive Services Program and the Lifespan Respite Care Program.
“Failure to provide effective supports to this often-unacknowledged workforce will result in extremely negative consequences for both caregivers and care recipients. The consequences for family caregivers will include declining health and reduced financial security; for care receivers, the consequences will include increased rates of institutionalization, higher risks of abuse and neglect, and decreased quality of life. In addition, there will be broader consequences for our healthcare system including skyrocketing cost increases for long-term care management. We cannot afford to sit idly by and allow this to happen.”
The Rosalyn Carter Institute For Caregiving is a tribute to Rosalyn Carter’s dedication to supporting caregivers. I hope they can make a difference in the public policy debate in Washington.
“I know only four kinds of people in the world— those who have been care- givers, those who are currently care- givers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers”. Rosalynn Carter