NAHC Newsroom


White House’s Middle Class Task Force to Focus on Caregiver Support Initiatives

February 4, 2010

Following the release of President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget proposal early this week, the administration’s Middle Class Task Force unveiled initiatives aimed at helping support family caregivers and other individuals providing uncompensated care for loved ones. The task force was established last year shortly after the president was sworn in to office, and Vice President Joe Biden serves as its chairman.

With an intensified focus on creating jobs and moving the economy forward, the Obama Administration has been highlighting issues such as the cost of health care and health insurance as a drag on American families (NAHC Report, 1/28/10). As millions of working caregivers across the country well know, tough economic times have created additional strains for individuals trying to balance jobs of their own with providing “informal” care for an elderly parent and/or disabled adult child, often risking their own physical, emotional, and financial well-being because of the stress that can create. “For many families, it just seems like it is impossible to get ahead,” the task force noted in a statement this week.

“Millions of Americans provide unpaid care to aging relatives — including approximately 23 million caregivers with jobs and 12 million who are caring for their own children. That’s why the Middle Class Task Force’s ‘squeeze’ initiative includes help for family caregivers,” the statement reads. The task force refers to the “sandwich generation” — which it describes as “people who are caring for children (or grandchildren or adult children who are struggling financially) and their parents” — as being particularly hard hit.

The task force has proposed $103 million in funding to support respite care, counseling, training, referrals, and adult day services. This funding is intended for the National Family Caregiver Support Program and Lifespan Respite program, for which the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) has long called for full and adequate funding (NAHC Report, 9/17/04; 12/16/06; 11/28/07; 3/18/08; 5/19/08).

According to the task force