Friday, November 4, 2011

Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Bill Introduced to Support Family Caregivers

The National MS Society and MS activists around the country applaud Representatives Jim Langevin (RI-2) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5) for recently introducing the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2011(H.R. 3266). This bipartisan effort is critically important for people living with MS and for their family caregivers. Up to one quarter of individuals living with MS will need long-term care services at some point. Often, a family member steps into the role of primary caregiver, becoming some of the 65 million family caregivers that provide 80% of our nation’s long-term care.

Despite the many benefits of family caregivers, it can be a stressful and draining job. Passing this bill and reauthorizing the Lifespan Respite Care Program would help ensure that short-term care that allows family caregivers to take a break from the daily routine and stress of providing care remains available.

There are many families who desire better access to respite care so that loved ones can remain at home and their family caregivers can strike a proper balance between caregiving responsibilities and other responsibilities, like work. In fact, the National MS Society, family caregivers and other Lifespan Respite supporters are gathered in Phoenix, Arizona this week for “The Many Faces of Respite, the 2011 National Lifespan Respite Conference and grantee meeting. 

Conference participants applauding family caregivers

Check out this great YouTube video of Representative Langevin addressing the Conference attendees about the importance of family caregivers and the need for everyone to be involved in reauthorizing this program. Check back in a few days and the Society will have an action alert through which you can easily ask your U.S. Representative to cosponsor H.R. 3266.

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