Family Caregiver Support Program
The Family Caregiver Support Program created by the PA Family Caregiver Act and the National Family Caregiver Act is designed to reduce caregiver stress and reinforce the care provided to older, functionally dependent family members. The Grandparenting Program of the Federal Family Caregiver Program provides support to older relatives who are living with and raising children.
In contrast to the other aging programs, which target older persons who require an agency-managed care plan, the Family Caregiver Support Program is specifically designed to support caregivers. Caregivers must be capable of managing the care of their relative with minimal dependence upon human service agencies. The basic components of the program are: a comprehensive assessment of the needs of the caregiver, the care receiver and the home environment; the development of a care plan responsive to the caregiver’s needs and burdens; ongoing casework services; benefits counseling; caregiving training and education; financial reimbursement for caregiving expenses. The Berks Visiting Nurse Association, a subcontracted care management provider, currently provides care management to approximately 92 caregivers and 92 care receivers in this program. An RN consultant and Spanish fluent care management staff also serve these consumers.
Providing emotional support and encouragement to caregivers is the heart of this program. Helping caregivers find ways to preserve their emotional and physical resources is another emphasis of the Family Caregiver Support Program. The Family Caregiver Newsletter provides information and education for program participants. Special events provide caregivers with the opportunity for a brief and much deserved respite as well as building bonds with fellow caregivers. Special events in 2006-2007 included a Holiday Tea and Wellness Fair, a Caregiver Service Basket Project, and a Caregivers Picnic. The program strives to creatively reach out to all Caregivers. Student Intern employees from West Chester University’s and Kutztown University’s Master of Social Work Programs and an intern from Kutztown University’s Bachelor of Social Work Program assist by coordinating the Grandparenting Program and spring 2007 projects.
  • The caregiver must be providing care to a family member who is 60 years of age or older. (Persons under 60 years of age who meed the definition for chronic dementia may also be eligible.)
  • The caregiver and care-receiver must reside in the same household.
  • The care-receiver must be functionally dependent, either physically or mentally, and require daily care or supervision.
  • Complete assessment of the needs of the caregiver, the care-receiver, and the home environment.
  • Benefits counseling for services available through local, state, and federal programs.
  • Counseling for caregiver stress.
  • Education and skills training for the caregiver.
  • Assistance in completing forms for state and federal programs.
  • Support groups.
  • Financial reimbursement for the purchase of personal care, respite, and home management services.
  • Financial assistance to purchase home adaptation/assistive devices for the home to ease the burden and stress of caregiving.
*NOTE: ELIGIBILTY & SERVICES are based on the financial situation of the family household.