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 helping 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 live independently at home, opposed to costly institutions, such as a nursing home. Most do so with no medical training.
These family 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 pass 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 their loved one 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 36 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the CARE Act has been signed into law and is either in effect or will be soon.
If the CARE Act has passed in your state, click here to download a CARE Act wallet card to place in your and your loved one’s wallets—next to your insurance cards. That way, you’ll both have important information about this new law available when you need it most
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.