Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Caregiving Costs & FTA Policy on Access to Transit


AARP reports that transportation is a major part of caregiving for elderly relatives. Valuing the Invaluable: 2011 Update - The Economic Value of Family Caregiving in 2009, states:
Nearly four in ten (39 percent) Medicare beneficiaries report being accompanied to routine medical visits, typically by spouses or adult children. A recent analysis found that family and friends provide 1.4 billion trips per year for older relatives (age 70+) who do not drive. Adult children provide 33 percent of these trips.
Taking time off to drive a parent or a spouse is not the only responsibility, though it might be one of the most time consuming. AARP also mentions the at-home medical care for people with long-term conditions as well as nursing-type care is performed after major surgeries and other critical procedures. Those people requiring the most care over long periods were individuals with chronic health conditions.

According to "more than one in three (36 percent) caregivers" due to budget cuts "government agencies and nonprofit organizations are now less able to provide services to their relative or friend" than prior to the recession. These include services such as transportation and delivered meals. This is borne out with area agencies on aging statistics in the report. Long-term effects for caregivers include a drain on financial resources and retirement savings, and negatively impacted employment prospects or advancement. Only California and New Jersey have legislation mandating paid family leave programs.

[Fish design bike rack in Long Beach, Calif.]

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
AASHTO publicized the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) issuance of a policy statement on the eligibility of pedestrian and bicycle improvements for funding under federal transit law - up to a radius of one-half mile for pedestrian improvements and all bicycle improvements located within three miles of a public transportation stop or station." The FTA declares a "de facto physical and functional relationship to public transportation." Funding for bicycle or pedestrian improvements at greater distances to public transportation may also be eligible for FTA funding where it is demonstrated that "the improvement is within the distance that people will travel by foot or by bicycle to use a particular stop or station." And that's just the FTA's introduction to the statement.

Details about funding are available in the NRC Technical Assistance News. The FTA policy statement appears in the Federal Register.

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