Across America, family caregivers help parents, spouses, aunts, uncles, siblings, children with disabilities and other loved ones to live independently. They prepare meals, handle finances, manage medications, drive to doctors’ appointments, help with bathing and dressing, perform complex medical tasks and more — all so loved ones can live at home.
These family caregivers have a big job, but some basic support — and commonsense solutions — can help make their big responsibilities a little bit easier. That’s why AARP urges Congress to enact the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S. 1028).
The RAISE Family Caregivers Act would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop, maintain and update a national strategy to recognize and support family caregivers. The bill would bring representatives from the private and public sectors, such as family caregivers; older adults and persons with disabilities; veterans; providers of health care and long-term services and supports (LTSS); employers; relevant industries; state and local officials; and others to advise and make recommendations regarding the national strategy. The advisory council meetings would be open to the public, and there would be opportunities for public input. The strategy would identify specific actions that communities, providers, employers, government, and others can take to recognize and support family caregivers, including with respect to:
- promoting greater adoption of person- and family-centered care in all health and LTSS settings, with the person and the family caregiver (as appropriate) at the center of care teams
- assessment and service planning (including care transitions and coordination) involving care recipients and family caregivers
- training and other supports
- information, education, referral and care coordination
- respite options
- financial security
- workplace policies and supports that allow family caregivers to remain in the workplace.
The development of the initial strategy would take up to 18 months, followed by updates of the strategy not less than every two years. The bill would improve the collection and sharing of information, including information related to evidence-based or promising practices and innovative models regarding family caregiving; better coordinate, maximize the effectiveness and avoid unnecessary duplication of federal government activities to recognize and support family caregivers; assess federal programs around family caregiving; and address disparities and meet the needs of the diverse caregiving population. The strategy and related work could help support and inform state and local efforts to support family caregivers.
AARP urges Congress to enact the RAISE Family Caregivers Act to recognize, assist, include, support and engage family caregivers! Many Americans have been or will be family caregivers or are likely to need the help of one to live independently in their homes and communities.
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