MADISON, WI – Voters across Wisconsin and the entire country want Congress to address family caregiving issues, according to a new AARP poll released today, conducted by the bipartisan polling team of Fabrizio Ward and Impact Research.
This is especially true for those age 50 and older: over two-thirds of voters, and 75% of voters age 50-plus, say it is very important for Congress to help seniors live in their own homes. More than half (57%) say the same for supporting unpaid family caregivers.
An overwhelming majority of voters, 78%, are either a current, past, or future family caregiver. Over 70% of voters across the political spectrum say they would be more likely to support a candidate who backed proposals to support family caregivers, such as a tax credit, paid family leave, and more support and respite services.
“Family caregivers are the backbone of a broken long-term care system, providing $600 billion in unpaid labor each year and saving taxpayers billions,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer. “It is long past time for lawmakers to enact commonsense solutions that support family caregivers and help older Americans live independently in their homes, where they want to be.”
At the state level, AARP Wisconsin is pushing for a $500 family caregiver tax credit to help caregivers offset many of the costs they incur each year while caring for their loved ones was part of the governor’s budget.
“Wisconsin’s nearly 600,000 unpaid family caregivers spend an average of $7,000 apiece every year to provide care that keeps their loved ones living in their own homes and communities as long as possible,” said AARP Wisconsin State Director Martha Cranley. “It’s time for our state lawmakers to recognize the value of the work performed by family caregivers, which is estimated to be about $9.2 billion a year in Wisconsin alone. The results of this survey show that voters agree and would like to see legislators take action to show their support these unsung heroes.”
Cranley said AARP Wisconsin will continue to work closely with state legislators to assure that issues of utmost importance to aging Wisconsinites, such as support for family caregivers, do not fall by the wayside. “We will never give up fighting for our members and all Wisconsinites who deserve budget considerations that enable them to age with support and dignity,” she said.
The national poll also found that:
- Legislative proposals are strongly supported across party lines: 89% of Democrats and 72% of Republicans support expanding services to help seniors live at home instead of a nursing home. Requiring minimum staffing standards in nursing homes so residents receive quality care is supported by 89% of Democrats and 74% of Republicans.
- Black voters, women, Democrats, and Latinos are especially likely to see long-term care and support for caregivers as key issues. Among those groups, 77% of women, 82% of Black voters, 71% of Latinos and 77% of Democrats say expanding services to help seniors live independently in their own homes instead of a nursing home is very or extremely important.
- Most caregivers feel stressed emotionally, stretched thin in both time and money, and overwhelmed; 40% of all family caregivers say they spend over 20 hours a week on caregiving, with almost half (48%) of women caregivers spending over 20 hours a week.
- Anxiety over caregiving is not limited to those currently providing care—more than two-thirds of voters express concerns about whether they will be able to get the care they need as they grow older or live independently.
“The data is clear: regardless of your political stripes, people adamantly want to age at home rather than a nursing home,” said Tony Fabrizio, partner in Fabrizio Ward. “It’s why support for helping caregivers is so politically important.”
“Family caregivers are stressed emotionally and financially, and proposals to help them are overwhelmingly popular and key to helping older Americans remain in their homes,” said John Anzalone, founder of Impact Research. “This may be the sleeper issue of the 2024 elections with a voting group that makes up one in five Americans.”
AARP is calling on state and federal lawmakers to:
- Provide eligible family caregivers with financial relief to help cover some of their costs for caring for a family member.
- Provide paid family leave so family caregivers can care for loved ones without losing their job or salary.
- Expand access to family caregiver support and respite services to allow family caregivers to take a break, helping prevent burnout and allowing them to keep caring for their loved ones.
- Expand services to help seniors remain in their homes as they age.
AARP commissioned the bipartisan polling team of Fabrizio Ward and Impact Research to conduct the survey by phone and text-to-web from April 4-10, 2023. The final poll included 1,425 registered voters with oversamples of voters age 50+, Black voters, Latino voters, AAPI voters, and family caregivers. The margin of error for the 1,425 adults’ sample is +/- 3.4% at the 95% level of confidence. For the oversampled groups, the margins of error are: +/- 3.4% for voters 50+, +/- 6.9% for Black and Latino voters, +/- 8.9% for AAPI voters, and +/- 4.9% for voters 50+.
View the full poll results.