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The Family Caregiver Platform Project, through the help of a state volunteer, submitted caregiver language for consideration to the 2016 California Democratic Party Platform and 2016 California Republican Party Platform. The specific language can be found on the Democratic and Republican Party pages.

Overview

The California Department of Aging, with funding from the U.S. Administration on Aging, contracts with 33 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) to coordinate local community-service systems for assisting caregivers of seniors. Services are available to family and other unpaid caregivers supporting older individuals. Each AAA is responsible for determining the array of services, either provided directly by AAA staff or through partnerships with other public or private agencies. The AAA’s Information and Assistance (I&A) program provides accurate and up-to-date information about caregiver support programs and services available within the local community. The Department administers funds allocated under the Older Americans Act, the Older Californians Act, and through the Medi-Cal program.

In 2014 the California State Senate established a select committee on Aging and Long Term Care. Their report, released in January 2015, provides a blueprint for “immediate action and provides a strategy to achieve improved coordination and a high functioning comprehensive system” to create an ideal long-term care system in our state. The full report is titled A Shattered System: Reforming Long-Term Care in California.

Most family caregivers are unaware of or unable to access the support programs in California. Respite and caregiver services and Caregiver Resource Centers have been eliminated or experienced major reductions in funding over the past several years. Family caregivers have little support for the medical tasks that are required for at-home care. They require appropriate training regarding needed care and appropriate support to ensure they can effectively and competently see to necessary care tasks. As well, they need ongoing support should problems arise or when a patient’s status changes while at home. These serious needs would be better addressed if family caregivers are integrated into patient care plans.

Suggested Platform Planks for California

  • We ask that the cuts to the Caregiver Resource Centers be reexamined in light of California’s improved financial situation.
  • We support the proposals in the 2015 report by the California State Legislature’s Select Committee on Long-Term Care to create a unified system of care in California.
  • Restore public services provided by the CalCareNet website.
  • Examine the feasibility of reducing caregiving costs by granting authority to registered nurses to train and delegate some tasks to home caregivers that currently must be performed by a registered nurse.

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Get family caregiving into your state party platform

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