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DC Office on Aging Overview

History

During the late 1990s, the DC Office on Aging, under the direction of E. Veronica Pace, began developing a vision to support family caregivers residing in the District of Columbia. The vision, to create a comprehensive resource that would provide the information, resources and support needed by caregivers, began to take shape after several planning efforts. These planning efforts included:
  • the Strategic Planning Subcommittee plans for Strengthening Families/Caregiving for the Government of the District of Columbia 1999
  • funding of DC Office on Aging lead agencies to increase respite care options in 2000 and 2001
  • the Caregiving Across the Lifespan Institute planning activities of the Institute of Gerontology at the University of the District of Columbia in 2000
  • the Caregivers Conference 2000 where family and professional caregivers reviewed the draft Caregiving Across the Lifespan Institute work plan
  • caregiver focus groups conducted in 2001 to examine caregiver needs and solicit input about needed support services
In November 2000, the National Family Caregiver Support Program was created by the re-authorization of the Older Americans Act. This program, administered by the U.S. Administration on Aging, provided the District government with federal funds to create its caregivers program. In June 2002, the District of Columbia Caregiversí Institute began by pilot testing its services with 25 caregivers. These services included in-home assessments, development of Caregiver Support Plans, educational seminars, and reimbursement for approved caregiver-related expenses through Caregiver Flex Accounts. The Caregiver Support Plan concept provides caregivers with flexibility and choice in selecting the types of supports that best meet their particular needs. Through the Caregiver Flex Account, participants receive reimbursement for respite care and supplemental services while selecting providers, including family and friends, and determining when and how the services will be delivered. In February 2003, the Institute rolls doubled to 50, and telephone support groups, National Family Caregivers Month recognition events and case management services were offered to participants. One year later, the rolls increased to 75 caregivers. As funding permits, the Institute will continue to increase the number of caregivers served.
Part of the Senior Service Network Supported by the D.C. Office on Aging