In the Spotlight

Family Caregiving—A Thirty Year Perspective

Lynn Friss Feinberg, deputy director of the National Center on Caregiving at Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA), received the American Society on Aging (ASA) 2006 Leadership Award at the association's spring conference in Anaheim. An essay based on her award lecture is published in the July-August 2006 edition of ASA's bimonthly newspaper, Aging Today.

The essay portrays the growth and development of the caregiver movement and the beginning of California's Caregiver Resource Center system. It highlights Feinberg's experience, insights, and lessons learned in the field of family caregiving. Read the excerpt below for a glimpse of the essay:

"In the mid-1970s, before Alzheimer's disease became a household term, a San Francisco woman, Anne Bashkiroff, struggled with her own private hell in trying to first understand her husband's illness and then find help in caring for him as he slowly and insidiously lost his mind and ability to function. . . . She, along with Suzanne Harris and a small group of other family members who also were caring for relatives with debilitating brain-impairing conditions, formed the Family Survival Project Task Force (later to become the Family Caregiver Alliance). It was 1976, 30 years ago.

Fast-forward to 2006. Today, real gains can be seen in the caregiving movement. Three decades of research clearly show that family caregiving is a public health issue—that family members who provide care to people with chronic or disabling conditions are themselves at risk, particularly when care is for a person with dementia. Numerous studies have clearly documented that unrelieved caregiver depression, exhaustion, financial concerns, and other care-related strain are major contributing factors to institutionalization, often resulting in higher public spending for long-term care."
(Feinberg 2006)

To read the full text of the essay, "How Far Has Family Caregiving Come? A Thirty Year Perspective," use the "Read More" link to download the publication from Aging Today. Please note that the essay is provided in Portable Document Format (PDF) and you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to access it. Read More

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