The Administration for Community Living released a national strategy to support family caregivers. The national strategy is the first of its kind on this subject.
“Caregivers don't know what they don't know until they're in the midst of it and are then scrambling to find the resources that they need, the information and the supports that they need to be hit on," said Greg Link, director of the Office of Supportive and Caregiver Services with the Administration for Community Living.
The 100-page federal document has one stated mission— to support family caregivers. The strategy features a series of best practices for the major issues surrounding caregivers. It contains hundreds of commitments from 15 government agencies in areas like outreach, research and advocacy. It's the latest in a series of acts and steps on the federal level. However, nothing is mandated.
Link says the document can attempt to provide a common set of goals and a shared language for those with a stake in the matter, nonprofits, local and state governments, federal agencies and caregivers.
“Caregivers, themselves, is an important first step in really taking a look at our programs, our policies around family caregiver supports. And it gives us a starting point. And that's what the national strategy is. It's a starting point,” Link said.
This national strategy is the product of partnerships, advisory councils and individuals representing varied lanes in the caregiving space. It's too early to know what impact it will have, but it's clear that it enters an atmosphere where so many need so much.
“Family caregivers saw themselves represented. They saw themselves heard. They too now have a tool that can elevate their voice and serve as a basis for new conversations around this topic,” Link said.