What the RAISE Family Caregivers Act Will Do
The RAISE Family Caregivers Act requires the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop, maintain and update an integrated national strategy to support family caregivers. And that support is sorely needed.
“Family caregivers are the backbone of our care system in America. We need to make it easier for them to coordinate care for their loved ones, get information and resources, and take a break so they can rest and recharge,” said Nancy A. LeaMond, AARP’s chief advocacy and engagement officer and a Next Avenue Influencer in Aging.
According to AARP, family caregivers “commonly experience emotional strain and mental health problems, especially depression, and have poorer physical health than noncaregivers.” And they rarely receive training in providing care. As my colleague Emily Gurnon wrote, the 2016 Families Caring for an Aging America report said family caregivers for adults 65 and older are “stressed, isolated and often suffering financially.”
Most family caregivers juggle work and caregiving. And 78% of them incur out-of-pocket costs due to caregiving, spending $6,954 a year, on average, according to AARP’s Family Caregiving and Out-of-Pocket Costs: 2016 Report.
Under the RAISE Act, HHS will create a national family caregiver strategy by bringing together federal agencies an representatives from the private and public sectors (like family caregivers, health care providers, employers and state and local officials) in public advisory council meetings designed to make recommendations. The agency will have 18 months to develop its initial strategy and then must provide annual updates.