Millions of Americans are caring for a parent, spouse or other loved one, helping them to live independently at home. For many, family caregiving is more than help with household chores or providing transportation. It includes complex care responsibilities that were once provided only by medical professionals.
In fact, almost half of the 40 million family caregivers in America have performed medical or nursing tasks for their loved ones. These tasks include:
- Managing multiple medications.
- Providing wound care.
- Managing special diets.
- Giving injections.
- Operating monitors or other specialized medical equipment.
By providing this care, family caregivers serve a critical role in helping their loved ones remain in their own homes and out of costly institutions, such as nursing homes. Most do so with no medical training.
These caregivers have a big job but we can help with some basic support — and commonsense solutions — to make their big responsibilities a little bit easier. That’s why AARP urges state lawmakers to enact the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act and help family caregivers as their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home.
The CARE Act requires hospitals to:
- Record the name of the family caregiver on the medical record of your loved one.
- Inform the family caregivers when the patient is to be discharged.
- Provide the family caregiver with education and instruction of the medical tasks he or she will need to perform for the patient at home.
AARP is fighting for the CARE Act in states across the country because supporting family caregivers is a top priority for all of us.
- In 18 states the CARE Act has been signed into law and is either in effect or will be soon.
- In Puerto Rico, the CARE Act has been passed by the state legislature and is awaiting the governor’s signature.
- In the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the CARE Act is being considered by the legislature.
If you are a family caregiver, you’re not alone.
- To stay up to date or to get involved with AARP’s caregiving advocacy in the states, sign up for the AARP Advocates e-newsletter or go to your state Web page.
- To find the tools and resources you need, go to the AARP Caregiver Resource Center.
- To share your story and connect with others, go to aarp.org/iheartcaregivers.