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What is this program?

It's ironic but many people spend so much time caring for a loved one they don't recognize themselves as being a caregiver. So, if you know you are a caregiver and are seeking answers to questions, you're already on the right track.

A caregiver can be anyone:

  • Seniors taking care of their spouses.

  • Children or grandchildren taking care of their parents or grandparents.

  • Neighbors or friends taking care of older adults living down the street.

  • Grandparents taking care of grandchildren.

The term "caregiver" refers to anyone who provides assistance to someone else who needs it. This person in need could be a husband who has Alzheimer's disease, a mother with cancer or a friend or neighbor who has suffered a stroke.

It is important to know that family caregiving is very common, especially among baby boomers whose parents are beginning to experience chronic health problems. An AARP study indicated that most members of the baby boomer generation (54%) currently care for children, parents, or both.

Most often a caregiver is a woman but there are an increasing number of men who are fulfilling this role as well. Many caregivers live with or near to the person for whom they provide care; other caregivers may be living in another city or state. Regardless, caregivers are very concerned individuals who want and need to know what kind of help is "out there" for them and older family members and friends.

What is this program?

Amendments in 2000 to the Older Americans Act established – for the first time – the National Family Caregiver Support Program. As part of the program, Illinois was given $4.7 million to develop the Caregiver Support Program. This program is being developed by the Illinois Department on Aging in partnership with Area Agencies on Aging and local community-service providers, to develop basic services for family caregivers, including...

  • To provide information to family caregivers about available services;

  • To provide assistance to family caregivers in gaining access to services;

  • To lead family caregivers to individual counseling, support groups or caregiver training;

  • To lead family caregivers to respite care to enable them to be temporarily relieved from their caregiving responsibilities; and

  • To provide supplemental services on a limited basis, to complement the care provided by family caregivers.


Who is eligible for such services?

The Illinois Caregiver Support Program defines a family caregiver as...

  • An adult family member or another individual who is an informal provider of in-home and community care to an older individual.

NOTE: "Informal caregiving" is a catch-all phrase that refers to unpaid care and financial support provided by family members or friends to people with chronic illness or disabilities.

And as . . .

  • Grandparents and relative caregivers of children not more than eighteen years of age including grandparents who are sole caregivers of grandchildren and those individuals who are affected by mental retardation or who have developmental disabilities. See Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.


Where can I find out about services nearest to me?

Here are some frequently asked questions by caregivers...

Ask Us a Question

The Illinois Aging Network is available to provide information on services for caregivers, which of them are availabe near you, and to help find answers to questions you may have. For more information on the Illinois Family Caregiver Support Program and its services, contact...

To locate community services anywhere in the U.S., contact a national information and assistance service.