Supporting Family Caregivers: AARP Applauds New National Strategy

There are nearly 500 measures that could help the 48 million Americans who care for aging relatives.

WASHINGTON, U.S. CAPITAL- Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services unveiled a comprehensive plan to assist people providing unpaid care for family members of any age. The strategy was created by the Advisory Council to Support Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and the RAISE (Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage) Family Caregiving Advisory Council, which is made up of family caregivers, health and long-term providers, and other stakeholders. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) strongly suggests that this comprehensive plan be put into action as soon as possible so that family caregivers can help their aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones.

Nancy LeaMond, Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer for AARP, said, “We applaud the release of this new national strategy to support family caregivers.” AARP fought to establish the RAISE Council. They are the backbone of our long-term care system, and the 48 million Americans who help their adult family members every day should be able to get help at the federal, state, and local levels. That makes sense.

The National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers lists nearly 500 actions that the federal, state, local, and other stakeholders can take, such as:

  • AmeriCorps seniors are working to improve the availability of respite care for family caregivers so that they can take a break and rest.
  • Family caregivers should be part of the hospital discharge planning process for their loved ones. The CARE Act, championed by the AARP, has been passed into law in 45 states and territories so far. This law says that before a patient leaves the hospital, family caregivers must be involved in the decision-making process and be shown how to perform any medical tasks that will need to be done at home.
  • By including family caregivers in electronic health records and statewide information systems, care can be better coordinated and more help can be given.
  • We enhance the current level of support for family caregivers by providing them with more and better information and tools.

Aside from the aforementioned measures, AARP also recommends that Congress pass the bipartisan Credit for Caring Act, which would establish a tax credit for eligible working caregivers who spend money out of their own pockets to care for their loved ones. Additionally, we anticipate collaborating with Congress and the Administration to expand Medicare’s current coverage for family caregivers. State family caregiver tax credits, reimbursement programs, or other financial support; stronger financial and legal protections through updated guardianship and power of attorney laws; and more affordable, high-quality help at home by expanding home- and community-based services are all areas where AARP will continue to work with state lawmakers across the country.

Visit aarp.org/caregiving to learn more about this important topic and find useful links and resources for family caregivers.

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