News Release
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   February 28, 2001

Christine Grant

For Further Information Contact:
Jayne O'Connor (609) 777-2600
Laura Otterbourg (609) 984-7160

Caregiver Support Program to Benefit from
$3.5 Million in Federal Funding

Trenton - Acting Governor Donald DiFrancesco announced today that New Jersey will receive $3.5 million in federal funds from the U.S. Administration on Aging that will enable the Department of Health and Senior Services to enhance its pioneering Caregiver Support Program.

"With these additional resources, we will be able to expand our family support services for caregivers, and reach out to even more individuals so they can continue caring for their loved ones in the best possible place - at home," said Acting Gov. DiFrancesco. "This program truly makes a difference for those residents who are struggling to keep a family member at home and leading their own life at the same time."

The federal funding will be awarded to the Department of Health and Senior Services, which in turn will work in partnership with the 21 county area agencies on aging to implement the grant provisions of the new program. New Jersey's total allocation will be $3,496,629.

"Family caregivers are often the only source of quality care for an elderly or disabled family member," said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Christine Grant. "When we provide necessary care and training to caregivers we benefit twofold; we make their lives better and assist in maintaining an older adult's dignity and independence as they age in place."

Long recognized as a national leader in providing family support services to caregivers, New Jersey established the nation's first Caregiver Support Program in 1988. In fact, according to Grant, the new National Family Caregiver Support Program will be built by drawing upon the example of New Jersey's highly successful caregiver initiative.

The New Jersey program provides respite care services for elderly and functionally impaired adults to relieve the stress caregivers often fall under due to providing daily care. This support allows caregivers to take a break from their duties and helps families avoid making premature or unnecessary nursing home placements.

Services provided under the Caregiver Support Program include; homemaker/home health aides, medical or social adult day health services, temporary care in a licensed medical facility, private duty nursing and alternate family care. The program is currently funded at $7 million, and includes three caregiver education initiatives that are designed to provide support and education to family caregivers.

"When we speak about the benefits of respite care, we're referring to a family that might now be able to keep an elderly relative at home and avoid nursing home care - or a caregiver that might now have the chance to take an afternoon break from their responsibilities," said Grant. "It's truly about improving quality of life for everyone involved."

It is estimated that in New Jersey there are 800,000 caregivers providing 17 hours of care per week. For more information on Caregiver Support Programs, call the toll free NJ Ease phone number at (877) 222-3737.

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