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The bipartisan legislation would establish a national strategy to support family caregivers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the bipartisan Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act.

The RAISE Family Caregivers Act would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop and sustain a national strategy to recognize and support the 43 million family caregivers in the United States. This bipartisan legislation has been endorsed by a number of aging and disability organizations including the AARP and the Alzheimer’s Association. U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) are cosponsors of the bill.

“Every day, family caregivers put their own health, livelihoods and financial security at risk to tend to the needs of their loved ones, many of whom require full-time assistance and care. If we are serious about ensuring that our older adults and loved ones with disabilities receive the highest quality care in their own homes, we must formally recognize and support family caregivers,” said Senator Baldwin. “This bipartisan effort is especially personal to me as I was raised by my maternal grandparents and later served as my grandmother’s primary caretaker as she grew older. I will continue to work to move this legislation forward and ensure that everyone has access to the care and assistance they need and deserve.”

“Family caregivers are an invaluable resource to our society, devoting enormous time and attention and making many personal and financial sacrifices to care for their loved ones,” said Senator Collins. “As our population grows older, the number of uncompensated family caregivers providing high-quality, long-term care will only increase. By developing a coordinated, national strategic plan, our bipartisan legislation would help us leverage our resources, promote best practices, and expand the services and training available to caregivers.”

“Today, caring for an older relative, a spouse, a parent, or a loved one of any age with a disability is affecting people in all walks of life — it really is an ageless and nonpartisan issue. The over 578,00 family caregivers in Wisconsin face huge responsibilities in keeping loved ones in their homes and communities and they need and deserve our support. With today’s introduction of the RAISE Family Caregivers Act we are now on our way to developing a national strategy to recognize and support family caregivers. Thank you Senator Baldwin for your leadership on this issue,” said AARP Wisconsin State Director Sam Wilson.

“The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin fully supports Senator Baldwin’s reintroduction of the RAISE Family Caregivers Act.  Family Caregivers and the services they provide free of charge are key to reducing health care expenditures associated with Alzheimer’s disease.   It is essential that we fully support these caregivers as well as recognize and value the important service they lovingly provide,” said Rob Gundermann, Public Policy Director, Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin.

The legislation is also supported by the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources.

Senators Baldwin and Collins first introduced the RAISE Family Caregivers Act in July 2015, and the legislation passed the Senate unanimously in December 2015.

Important Facts on Family Caregivers:

·         43 million family caregivers in the United States provided an estimated $470 billion in uncompensated long-term care in 2013.

·         Many caregivers are putting their own health at risk since caregivers experience high levels of stress and have a greater incidence of chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, and depression.

·         Every day, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65, and as many as 90 percent of them have one or more chronic health conditions 

·         Americans 85 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. This population is most at risk of multiple and interacting health problems that can lead to disability and the need for round-the-clock care.

An online version of this release is available here.


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