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March 26, 1999

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We must give care to the caregivers to help Americans provide long-term care for aging and ailing loved ones -- the size of the senior boom demands it. The length of our lives makes it more important than ever.

Vice President Al Gore
March 26, 1999

Today, Vice President Al Gore travels to New Hampshire where he holds a forum on long-term care and announces that the Administration will ask Congress to reauthorize and improve the Older Americans Act (OAA), creating a new National Family Caregiving Support Program. The Vice President will also highlight other important parts of the Administration's long-term care initiative that provide support to Americans with long-term care needs or their caregivers.

Critical Support For Caregivers And Older Americans. The Clinton-Gore Administration proposal for reauthorizing and improving the Older Americans Act would, for the first time, create a National Family Caregiving Support Program that would provide critical assistance for 250,000 families who care for older relatives with chronic illnesses or disabilities by enabling states to:

  • Provide quality respite care and other support services;
  • Offer critical information about community-based long-term care services that best meet families' needs;
  • Provide counseling and training, including teaching effective approaches for caregivers coping with new responsibilities and offering training for complex care needs.

Giving Older Americans Needed Services In Their Communities. The Older Americans Act also includes a number of critical programs for older Americans, including: home and community-based meals, rides for doctor or pharmacy visits, community service and assistance, protection against elder abuse, counseling, and help to address physical and emotional needs. In addition, daily activities in an estimated 2,500 senior centers and nearly 1,000 adult day care centers are provided by the Older Americans Act.

A Comprehensive Long-Term Care Agenda. The Vice President is urging Congress to pass other parts of the Administration's long-term care agenda, including:

  • A $1,000 tax credit for Americans with long-term care needs or to family members who care for and house their ill or disabled relatives, that would benefit roughly 2 million Americans;
  • A national campaign to educate Medicare beneficiaries about Medicare's limited coverage of long-term care and how best to evaluate their options, and provide all 39 million Medicare beneficiaries with critical information about long-term care options;
  • Having the federal government serve as a model employer by offering quality private long-term insurance to federal employees, allowing roughly 300,000 federal employees to participate;
  • Enabling states to cover home and community-based care to the same income levels as for nursing homes through Medicaid.

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