Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) announced the reformation of the Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) Caucus. The caucus will provide education about the challenges family caregivers face and advocate for policies that support them. Bennet and Capito relaunched the caucus today with the support of AARP and family caregivers from across the nation.
"Family caregivers provide billions of hours of unpaid care to ensure their loved ones can perform daily activities and continue living independently," said Bennet. “As the population continues to age, the need for family care will only increase, and most of us will likely act as a family caregiver or need care at some point in our lifetimes. We hope that this caucus will raise awareness about the physical, emotional, and financial stress caregivers face, and result in meaningful policies to support them."
“In caring for both of my parents who passed away following their battles with Alzheimer’s, I saw firsthand the stress and costs that come with family caregiving,” said Capito. “With the relaunch of the Assisting Caregivers Today Caucus, we are bringing needed attention to the issues caregivers of all backgrounds face. I look forward to working alongside Senator Bennet and our colleagues as we renew our push to find bipartisan ways to lessen the emotional and financial toll for these individuals and families.”
“AARP is pleased that Senators Bennet and Capito are re-establishing the Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) Caucus in the U.S. Senate. Family caregivers are the backbone of the care system in this country, enabling older adults and people with disabilities to live independently in their homes and communities. They need support as they face physical, emotional, and financial challenges in their caregiving roles. We look forward to working with the ACT Caucus and Congress more broadly to support our nation’s family caregivers,” said Bill Sweeney, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for AARP.
As a result of physical limitations or cognitive impairments, a growing number of Americans require assistance with tasks like eating, dressing, bathing, and traveling. Many rely on friends or family caregivers to provide these services and coordinate care. As a result, roughly 41 million unpaid caregivers provide 90% of the services that enable individuals to avoid living in nursing homes. The estimated economic value of family caregivers’ unpaid contributions was $470 billion in 2017. Additionally, 78% of family caregivers incur out-of-pocket costs as a result of caregiving, with family caregivers averaging $7,242 annually in caregiving expenses.