Last Thursday, Arizona MS Activist Bonnie Danowski spoke at a Congressional briefing co-hosted by the Society and National Alliance for Caregiving, which released new survey results about MS caregivers. Among other issues, the survey highlighted the financial, emotional and health challenges MS caregivers face. The survey also highlighted the need for greater caregiver supports, like respite programs. Did you know that approximately four in ten respondents report that providing care to someone with MS has negatively impacted their financial situation (43%), ability to participate in hobbies/things they enjoy(39%), and their mental health (38%).You can download the full report at www.caregiving.org.
To give a first-hand account as a caregiver, Bonnie spoke about her experience as a caregiver for her husband that has had MS for 41 years. She passionately relayed the importance of respite for maintaining a system of home health care, stating, “If we caregivers fall apart, the whole system will crash”. MS Congressional champions Rep. Jim Langevin and Rep. Russ Carnahan also stopped by to say a few words and lend support. Both reiterated the importance of sustaining and growing the Lifespan Respite Care Program through additional funding for the program.