Alabama Cares

Support for Family Caregivers (CARES)


Program Administered

The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) established in 2000, provides grants to States and territories, based on their share of senior citizens. This funding allows families to keep their loved ones at home for as long as possible thereby preventing pre-mature nursing home placement. Alabama’s allotment under the Older Americans Act amendment created the Alabama Cares Program which is administered in Alabama under the Alabama Department of Senior Services (ADSS) through the 13 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA).



The Alabama Cares Program provides services to assist Caregivers with the duties involved in taking care of their loved ones. Caregivers play a vital role in helping seniors maintain their health and independence. However, even though caregiving is rewarding, it can have a negative impact on the health and well-being of the caregiver. Caregiving has its greatest impact on the emotional health of caregivers. Caregivers of individuals with dementia and stroke survivors are at the highest risk for depression and anxiety disorders. Therefore, the purpose of this program is to assist Caregivers with the issues that may arise from the role of caregiving. The program also allows families to keep their loved ones at home for as long as possible, thereby preventing pre-mature nursing home placement. The National Family Caregiver Support Program offers support for caregivers across the state by providing services through five basic areas.


Services Provided

1.  Information Services: A service for caregivers that provides the public and individuals with information on resources and services available within their communities.

2. Caregiver Access Assistance: A service from a trained Cares Coordinator to help caregivers assess needs and access support services

3. Caregiver Education or Counseling: Support provided to caregivers to assist them in making decisions and solving problems relating to their caregiver roles

4. Caregiver Respite: Provided to give caregivers a brief period of relief or break from their caregiving responsibilities.  (Only available to Primary and  Family/Relative Caregivers)

5. Caregivers Supplemental Services: Services such as meals, assistive technologies, emergency response systems, incontinence supplies are provided to caregivers on a limited basis to complement the care provided by caregivers.  (Only available to Primary and Family/Relative Caregivers)


Target Population

Primary Caregivers of frail, older adults age 60 and older and Grandparents aged 55 and older.


Eligibility Criteria for the Cares Program

In order to be eligible for the Alabama Cares Program, an individual must be one of the following

  • Primary Caregiver of a frail, adult age 60 and older
  • Primary Family Caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or a dementia related diagnosis, regardless  of their age
  • Grandparents or other relatives (not parents) age 55 and older who are the primary caregiver for children age 18 & younger
  • Grandparent or other relatives (not parents) age 55 years and older who are the primary caregiver for an adult child 18 to 59 years, with severe disabilities who:
  • Lives with the child;
  • Is the primary caregiver of the child;
  • Has legal relationship to the child, such as legal custody or guardianship, or is raising the child informally

Priority is given to those with the greatest social and economic need and family caregivers providing care and support to persons with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.


Program Impact

FY 2013 Performance Indicators: The Alabama Cares Program through the aging network served the needs of  7,692 Unduplicated Caregivers, provided 150,183 Respite Units, and served 430 Grandparent Caregivers across the state of Alabama.


Program Initiatives

The Alabama Department of Senior Services (ADSS), in partnership with Alabama Lifespan Respite Resource Network™ (Alabama Respite), a program of United Cerebral Palsy of Huntsville and Tennessee Valley, Inc. (UCP), Alabama Lifespan Respite Coalition (Coalition), and the Aging & Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs), is working together to continue building integrated and sustainable Lifespan Respite Programs.


Alabama Lifespan Respite Resource Network® (Alabama Respite) is a statewide program of United Cerebral Palsy of Huntsville and Tennessee Valley, Inc., a 501 (c), whose mission is “to increase access to and availability of high quality respite resources for all caregivers in Alabama.”   The Alabama Respite Coalition was appointed by the Governor of Alabama and consists of 32 state agency commissioners, executives, pastors, consumers, and provider organizations.  The Coalition’s task is to build partnerships and coordinate respite efforts statewide; preparing Alabama to compete for federal funding through the Lifespan Respite Care Act; providing public awareness about respite to the citizens of Alabama; identifying, coordinating, and developing funding and community resources for respite.  Alabama Respite is a high performance program with experienced staff, a proven track record of success in creating, managing, maintaining, and replicating innovative programs, and experienced in collaboration with numerous governmental, faith-based, and community organizations across the state.  Each of these factors contributed to the overall success of the program.




To Contact Your Local Area Agency On Aging, Please Call 1-800-AGELINE (1-800-243-5463)