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Bipartisan Legislation Gives Vital Lifeline Service to Millions of Military Caregivers Nationwide who Provide Daily Care for Wounded, Ill, and Injured Veterans 

Bipartisan Legislation Gives Vital Lifeline Service to Millions of Military Caregivers Nationwide who Provide Daily Care for Wounded, Ill, and Injured Veterans 

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation Urges Swift Action to Enact the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act

Washington, May 19, 2017 – The Elizabeth Dole Foundation and its Hidden Heroes initiative applaud Congressmen Jim Langevin and Gregg Harper, and Senators Susan Collins and Tammy Baldwin  for the reauthorization of the 2006 Lifespan Respite Care Act (P.L. 109-442) to support coordinated respite services for family caregivers.

“Family caregivers are an invaluable resource to our society, devoting enormous time and attention and making tremendous personal and financial sacrifices to care for their loved ones.  This task, however, can take a toll. Caregivers experience higher rates of acute and chronic health conditions, and far too many caregivers don’t receive the support they need in their caregiving role,” said Senator Collins. “That is why respite care, which provides caregivers with a temporary break from their responsibilities, is so essential. Our legislation would give family caregivers and their loved ones the support they need by ensuring that quality respite is available and accessible.”

Respite care is the most commonly requested need of military caregivers, and often, local community providers are best positioned to give them that care. To date, 35 states and the District of Columbia have received funding for critical community resources through the Lifespan Respite Care program. With reauthorization and enhanced funding, these providers will have more resources to serve veterans and their caregivers for much longer.

“Respite – what often amounts to a short break in the care of a veteran or servicemember so a caregiver can attend to other family or personal needs  – is a rejuvenating, absolutely essential lifeline for military caregivers,” says Senator Elizabeth Dole. “It is one of the most requested and beneficial services and supports that we as a society can provide to our Hidden Heroes, and yet, one of the most difficult to come by.”

According the ARCH National Respite Coalition (NRC), who facilitates the Lifespan Respite Task Force, a coalition of over 50 national organizations (including the Elizabeth Dole Foundation) supporting the funding and reauthorization of the Lifespan Respite Care Act:

“Respite care provides temporary relief for family caregivers from the ongoing responsibility of caring for an individual of any age with special needs. As a preventive strategy, respite helps strengthen families, protects their health and well-being, and allows them to continue providing care at home. Respite is also an important component of a continuum of comprehensive family support and long-term services and supports that are available to caregivers not only on a planned basis, but also in the event of a crisis or emergency situation.”

“I urge our members of Congress to swiftly pass the Lifespan Respite Care Act, as it is too critical a support to go without this needed attention and funding,” Senator Dole adds.

Reauthorization and full funding of the Lifespan Respite Care Act will:

  • Allow state replication – across and deeper within all 50 states — of best practices in Lifespan Respite systems so that all family caregivers, including military caregivers, regardless of age or disability of the care recipient, have access to affordable respite.
  • Save Medicaid and other systems billions of dollars because it gives caregivers access to affordable respite, a life-line support that makes it possible for them to continue to fulfill their vital caregiving role and service;
  • Improve the quality of respite services currently available;
  • Expand respite program capacity to serve more families by building new, and enhancing current formal and informal respite care options, including recruitment and training of respite workers and volunteers and ensuring that these programs continue to run for longer periods of time, and therefore serve more families;
  • Provide family caregivers with training and information on how to find, use and pay for respite services.

See the full press release here:

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation is optimistic this bipartisan legislative action today by the Congress will bring forward necessary funding to fully implement respite care nationwide, which means:

  • Funding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Lifespan Respite Care Program at $10 million
  • Funding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Family Caregiver Support Program at $145 million


About Elizabeth Dole Foundation: The Elizabeth Dole Foundation is the preeminent organization empowering, supporting, and honoring our nation’s 5.5 million military caregivers; the spouses, parents, family members, and friends who care for America’s wounded, ill, or injured veterans. Founded by Senator Elizabeth Dole in 2012, the Foundation adopts a comprehensive approach in its support and advocacy, working with leaders in the public, private, nonprofit, labor and faith communities to recognize military caregivers’ service and promote their well-being. Learn more about the Elizabeth Dole Foundation at www.elizabethdolefoundation.org  

Hidden Heroes, an initiative of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, brings vital attention to the untold stories of military caregivers and finds solutions for the tremendous challenges and long-term needs they face. Hidden Heroes seeks to raise awareness of the issues military caregivers confront every day; inspire individuals, businesses, communities, and civic, faith and government leaders to take action in supporting military caregivers in their communities; and establish a national registry, encouraging military caregivers to register at HiddenHeroes.org to better connect them to helpful resources and support. Learn more about Hidden Heroes at www.hiddenheroes.org