WASHINGTON—The RAISE (Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage) Family Caregiving Advisory Council—comprised of family caregivers, health care experts and others—yesterday delivered recommendations to policymakers on how to better support family caregivers, including a call for financial and workplace security and expanding home and community-based services. AARP’s former National Volunteer President, Catherine Alicia Georges, EdD, RN, FAAN, is a member of the Council and helped develop the recommendations over a two-year period.
“We thank the RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council for their work producing this important report and recommendations to give family caregivers some financial relief and more support in the workplace,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “As the Council points out, America’s 48 million family caregivers are the backbone of our care system, and they are breaking under the strain. It’s time for policymakers to take action. AARP is calling on Congress to enact a tax credit for family caregivers this year, as well as legislation to provide paid leave for caregiving and expand access to home- and community-based services.”
The RAISE Family Caregivers Act, signed into law in January 2018, requires the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a strategy to support the nation’s family caregivers who care for loved ones of all ages. Those helping parents, spouses, and other adult loved ones provide an estimated $470 billion annually in unpaid assistance to them. The Council’s recommendations fall under five goals, which include:
- Increasing awareness of family caregivers;
- Engaging family caregivers as partners in health care and long-term services and supports;
- Improving access to services and supports for family caregivers;
- Supporting financial and workplace security for family caregivers; and
- Generating research, data, and evidence-informed practices.
As the RAISE Family Caregivers Act Initial Report to Congress notes, “Financial issues are a significant challenge for many family caregivers and cannot be overstated…. At the same time that family caregivers are experiencing significant out-of-pocket monetary expenses as part of their caregiving, their ability to maintain consistent income levels is often threatened by workplace policies that are not flexible enough for family caregiving.” The Council specifically recommended that policymakers advance the development and adoption of flexible workplace policies, and decrease negative financial impacts on family caregivers.
AARP has endorsed the bipartisan Credit for Caring Act, and is also calling on Congress to provide paid leave to family caregivers. Research from AARP has found that family caregivers spend an average of $7,240 out-of-pocket on caregiving expenses annually. Six in ten caregivers report having at least one impact to their work situation as a result of caregiving, with more than half (53%) having to go in late, leave early, or take time off to provide care.
More information about and resources for family caregivers are available at aarp.org/caregiving.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.