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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  /State of the Caregiver Union /   Editorial List  

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 State of the Caregiver Union

I received a call from the White House press office before the President’s State of the Union address. They asked if I would talk to the media about the fact that he would be discussing tax credits for family caregivers.  I said “Sure,” but received no calls the next day.  Oh well.  It was, and still is, wonderful to hear the President of the United States say the words “family caregiver.” The year was 1999 and the President in question, William Jefferson Clinton.

The feeling of wonder and enthrallment did not diminish one iota eleven years later as I heard another President (and Vice President) once again talk about the importance of family caregivers, and even add some much needed additional funds towards caregiver support.

The other day, during the Middle Class Task Force meeting, President Obama announced his plan to call for a $102.5 million Caregiver Initiative which would include:

  • $52.5 million in funds to the Department of Health and Human Services Caregiver Support Program to allow for temporary respite care, counseling, training and referrals to critical services.
  • $50 million to programs that provide transportation help, adult day care, and in-home services like personal assistance, bathing, and cooking, to help elders stay in their homes longer.

The increases proposed for the National Family Caregiver Support Program are greatly needed to help the work of such groups as the Area Agency on Aging organizations in our communities.

As U.S. Assistant Secretary of Aging Kathy Greenlee noted in Today’s Caregiver magazine’s January/February cover interview, isolation is one of the greatest challenges family caregivers face. I couldn’t agree more. I look forward to the help this increased support will offer caregivers to connect with one another in both rural and urban communities around the nation. 

Gary Barg
Editor-in-Chief

gary@caregiver.com