En español | One topic that engages audiences around the country when I speak on behalf of AARP is the uncompensated work done by hardworking family caregivers — more than 40 million generous souls who dedicate themselves to loved ones. Anyone familiar with the work they do recognizes that they sometimes need our help.
AARP is committed to easing the burdens on family caregivers. Over the past two years, AARP has been behind the passage of more than 200 state laws that support family caregivers. AARP has drafted model legislation on a wide range of supports for family caregivers. Providing flexibility for working family caregivers is key. One AARP model bill, ELECT, allowing employees to use their paid sick leave to care for an ailing loved one, is now law in Georgia and Illinois.
In 2018, three states — Maryland, New Jersey and Oklahoma — passed laws to help caregivers balance work and caregiving through paid- and unpaid-leave options.
We’re also celebrating passage of the RAISE Family Caregivers Act, which requires the federal government to come up with ways to help those who are caring for others.
Other highlights from 2018:
- Missouri passed the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act, which provides support for family caregivers as their loved ones enter the hospital or make the transition from hospital to home. That means 37 states, two territories and Washington, D.C., now have this law in place.
- More than a dozen states made telehealth more accessible, so patients can reach doctors and other medical experts who are many miles away or even on another continent.
- AARP helped four states (Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii and Rhode Island) improve access to their respite-care programs, which provide a temporary but much-needed break for family caregivers.
We did not do this work alone and like to recognize lawmakers who helped us. AARP named our fifth annual class of Capitol Caregivers, including 58 state legislators and six governors. That list is at aarp.org/statecaregivers.
We’ve come far, but there is work yet to do. We won’t rest until caregivers get the help they deserve.