The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill this week known as the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019, or S.995, which would authorize $50 million over the next five years for the Lifespan Respite Care Program, a system of community-based respite care services across the country.
The Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019, S.995, written by U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), would authorize the funds from fiscal year 2020 through fiscal year 2024. The bill has the support of LeadingAge, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice and 50 other national organizations as well as 63 state and local organizations, all of which sent a letter on Monday to Senate leaders and the bill’s sponsors.
“In my conversations with family caregivers, I have found what they need most is respite care, a break from the 24/7 job of caregiving,” Collins said in a statement. “Caregivers provide an estimated $470 billion in uncompensated care each year, yet an astounding 85 percent of caregivers have not received any respite services at all.” There are an estimated 45 million family caregivers in the U.S.,