President Obama declared November 2011 as National Family Caregivers Month. The official proclamation recognizes families’ efforts to provide care for people with disabilities and older adults. The president noted that family care is especially important for veterans who are returning injured from Afghanistan and Iraq: “Our military caregivers exemplify the heroism found not only on the fields of battle, but also in the hearts of those who tend to our wounded warriors when they come home.”
Although a proclamation is a nice gesture to acknowledge the work we do as caregivers, what is the current administration doing to help us? Vice President Biden’s Middle Class Task Force addressed caregiver issues by providing funding to programs that provide care for children, people with disabilities, and older adults, as well as respite programs for caregivers. According to the task force’s press release, the president’s 2011 budget included $103 million earmarked for caregivers, including respite care, counseling, training, and adult day care. This extra funding was estimated to serve almost 200,000 more caregivers.
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Laura J. Pinchot, BA, is a copy editor and writer who lives in Pittsburgh, PA. Her first book, Help Wanted: Caregiver was published in October 2010 by Hygeia Media, an imprint of the Oncology Nursing Society. Laura is the mother of two children, one of whom was recently diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified (which is in the family of autism spectrum disorders), so she is learning how to navigate the education and social services systems through the new perspective of a mother of a special needs child. Read more articles by Laura Pinchot.