Washington, D.C. — This morning, the Senate Health Committee voted to advance legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to support the health and wellbeing of family caregivers. The Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019 now heads to the floor for consideration by the full Senate. Senators Collins and Baldwin are members of the Health Committee.
This bipartisan bill would authorize $10 million annually for the Lifespan Respite Care program from fiscal year 2020 through fiscal year 2024.
“In my conversations with family caregivers, I have found what they need most is respite care, a break from the 24/7 job of caregiving. Caregivers provide an estimated $470 billion in uncompensated care each year. Yet, an astounding 85 percent of caregivers have not received any respite services at all,” said Senator Collins. “Respite care is essential to caregivers as it helps to reduce mental stress and physical health issues they may experience. I am pleased that our bipartisan bill was approved by the Senate Health Committee today, and I urge all of my colleagues to support this important legislation to give family caregivers and their loved ones the support they need by ensuring that quality respite is available and accessible.”
“Every day, family caregivers in Wisconsin and across our country tend to the needs of their loved ones,” said Senator Baldwin. “Although this work can be very rewarding, it can also be emotionally and physically challenging. I’m proud to see my bipartisan legislation with Senator Collins pass out of the Senate Health Committee today. Together, we’re going to help ensure continued funding for the Lifespan Respite Care Program so that our family caregivers can access the support and relief they need.”
Respite care provides temporary relief to caregivers from their ongoing responsibilities. By protecting the health of caregivers, respite care decreases the need for professional long-term care and allows individuals who require care to remain at home. To date, 37 states have received funding through the Lifespan Respite Care program. The program provides competitive grants to states to establish or enhance statewide respite resources and help ensure that quality respite is available and accessible to all family caregivers.
The Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019 is endorsed by 32 leading caregiver and respite organizations, including AARP, the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center, Autism Society of America, the Arc, and the National Alliance for Caregiving.
There are 45 million family caregivers in the United States that provide an estimated $470 billion in uncompensated care each year.