The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recently started to focus on finding ways to support family caregivers by assisting them with resources to maintain their health, well-being, and financial security while they act as caregivers. As part of this, it has announced the implementation of a 2022 National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers.
HHS estimates that approximately 53 million people provide a broad range of assistance to their aging, health-compromised, or disabled loved ones each year. Millions more open their homes to grandparents as well as children who cannot live with their parents.
Burdens of Caregiving
Many caregivers put their needs last, often giving up income to step into a caregiving role. As a result, they may suffer quality of life and financial and health issues. When these scenarios become untenable, their loved ones are forced to enter nursing homes or other facilities, and taxpayers bear this cost.
In response to these issues, HHS has proposed its 2022 National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers, a collaboration between the federal government and the private sector. HHS plans to update this strategy every two years and seek input from the public, and from local and state councils and agencies that work with family caregivers.
The strategy’s primary goal is to provide caregivers with training, support, and opportunities for rest and self-care.
Two main categories of caregivers are the focus of the strategy — family caregivers and kin and/ or grandparent caregivers. Family caregivers usually assist a loved one with a chronic or other health condition, disability, or functional limitation. A kin and/ or grandparent caregiver refers to a grandparent or adult relative who takes on responsibility for grandchildren or other children who cannot remain with their parents.
The National Strategy outlines five main goals:
- To increase awareness of and outreach to family caregivers
- To advance partnerships and engagement with family caregivers
- To strengthen services and support for family caregivers
- To improve financial and workplace security for family caregivers through the proposed implementation of various national paid leave programs and/or refundable tax credits
- To expand infrastructure that will enable data collection about the prevalence of caregiving, the context in which care is provided, and the financial, emotional, and physical impacts of caregiving
Learn more about the 2022 National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers and the coordinated approach to supporting caregivers it hopes to achieve.