Caregivers fulfill an important role in seniors’ lives by voluntarily providing important services, from administering medication to helping them through daily routines. These tasks are usually done without pay, during the spare time of parents and fulltime workers. With the aging of the Baby Boomers coming soon, there is a growing need for a comprehensive compensation program.

Despite their best efforts, caregivers face a number of concerns. Some spend more time with their loved ones at the expense of reduced work hours. Over time, smaller incomes cannot afford large medical expenses. That pressure leads to a burnout of exhaustion and disinterest in working. Medical inexperience makes the caregiver more prone to mistakes while performing critical tasks.

These issues increase the probability of the ultimate fear: moving family members into expensive and isolated nursing homes. Through the CARE Act, hospitals become more involved by recording caregivers’ information, contacting them when the patient is discharged, and providing live instruction on the performance of medical tasks. This added accountability ensures that caregivers will be more prepared to take on their responsibilities while supporting their loved ones’ independence.

AARP looks forward to the NJ Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens committee meeting on September 15th during which The CARE Act will be considered. We hope others will attend and show their support as well.

Taralynn Dorsaint

AARP New Jersey Intern