AARP Eye Center
Policies that help family caregivers, improve the quality of long-term care facilities, and facilitate telehealth receive overwhelming support of Nebraska voters age 50-plus, according to a recent AARP survey.
With a desire to help people age in place, Nebraskans want policies that not only offer financial assistance, but also improve the quality of care for people as they age. More than four in 10 Nebraskans identify as current or former caregivers and reveal the mental and financial stress experienced during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the pandemic has increased the emotional strain on more than half of current caregivers.
Championing Caregiver Support
Chief among the findings is a desire for helping family caregivers. Eight in 10 Nebraska voters believe employers should be required to provide limited unpaid leave to employees who are caregivers, and 73% support some paid leave to all employees that can be used for caregiving purposes.
Further, 82% think employers should be prohibited from firing family caregivers for taking time off.
Not only do Nebraskans want employers to accommodate family caregivers, but they also want increased funding for respite care programs. The vast majority (79%) of voters support public financing of short-term help from a home health aide or adult day care program so family caregivers can take a break.
Voters also embrace continuing to fund the Nebraska Family Caregiver Reimbursement Program. The program provides partial reimbursement to family caregivers who pay for home modifications and assistive care technology, such as hearing aids and wheelchairs. While transportation is the most common expense cited by caregivers, 44% have paid for assistive technology. Home modifications are also a common expense, with 39% of caregivers modifying the recipient’s home and 30% modifying their own home.
Eight in 10 voters want to see the reimbursement program continue. The strongest support comes from Democrats with 78% saying they strongly support continued funding for the program, while 53% of Republicans and 61% of Independents also expressed strong support.
Strengthening Long-Term Care
While most Nebraska voters want to receive long-term care at home — and support policies allowing that — there is bipartisan interest in policies that ensure quality of care in long-term care facilities. Virtually all Nebraska voters (97%) say it is extremely or very important for nursing home residents to receive quality care.
Voters also strongly support providing a living wage to paid caregivers who work in long-term care facilities and developing a multigenerational nursing home facility where childcare is offered to children of employees.
With 83% indicating it is extremely or very important to have services that would allow them to stay at home, older Nebraska voters also express significant support for enhancing telehealth services. Eight in 10 support a requirement that health insurance cover telehealth, and 78% support investments to improve peoples’ access to telehealth services.
The Nebraska Voter Survey on Caregiving and Long-Term Care was conducted by American Directions Research Group (ADRG) among registered voters of Nebraska ages 50-plus. The survey asked registered Nebraska voters their views on families and older Americans, as well as related proposals being considered by the Nebraska state legislature. The telephone survey interviews averaged 20 minutes in length. The interviews were conducted in English by ADRG from October 4 to October 23, 2021. The data were collected using a registered voter list. A total of 1,000 interviews were completed.
For more information, contact Terry Keenan at firstname.lastname@example.org. For media inquiries, please contact External Relations at email@example.com.
Keenan, Teresa A. Nebraska Voter Survey on Caregiving and Long-Term Care. Washington, DC: AARP Research, February 2022. https://doi.org/10.26419/res.00518.001