Many of us have been, are, or will be a family caregiver, or are likely to need the help of one someday.  Family caregivers are the backbone of services and supports in this country,  the first line of assistance for people with chronic or other health conditions, disabilities, or functional limitations. Family caregivers make it possible for loved ones to live independently in their homes and communities. If not for them, the economic cost to the US health care and long-term care systems would increase astronomically. In 2013, about 40 million family caregivers provided unpaid care at about $470 billion.

Our country relies on the contributions family caregivers make and should  support them. Supporting caregivers also helps those they care for, as well as the economy and workplaces that benefit from the contributions.  AARP urges Congress to enact the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S.1719/H.R. 3099). This bill would implement the bipartisan recommendation of the federal Commission on Long-Term Care that Congress require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers.

AARP thanks Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Rodney Frelinghuysen, Tom MacArthur, Bill Pascrell, Jr., Donald Payne, Jr. and Chris Smith for co-sponsoring this important legislation, and urges other members of NJ’s congressional delegation to do the same.

Signed,

Stephanie Hunsinger

AARP New Jersey State Director

Princeton