What We Are Trying To Accomplish: To continue funding the Lifespan Respite Care Program so that our nation’s more than 60 million family caregivers have access to quality respite care.
Why It’s Important: Caregivers of people with MS spend about 24 hours a week providing care. Of these caregivers, 64% are emotionally drained, 32% experience depression and 22% have lost a job due to caregiving responsibilities. The Lifespan Respite Care Program helps states better coordinate and deliver quality respite care that improves the health of family caregivers and allows the person living with MS to continue living at home.
Updates: In mid-December 2015, Congress completed work on its Fiscal Year 2016 and in that, included a $1 million increase for the Lifespan Respite Care Program. Through this funding, more than thirty states and the District of Columbia have received grants to establish or enhance their statewide Lifespan Respite Care Programs. States have, for instance, established statewide databases of available respite care and provided vouchers to families to choose and purchase quality respite care.
The Lifespan Respite Care Program received $3.36 million in 2016 and we are advocating for $5 million in 2017. Reps. Langevin (RI-2) and Harper (MS-3) have also introduced a bill that would reauthorize the Lifespan Respite Care Program, H.R. 3913.