Back in June, in a blog post I wrote about the stresses many of America’s 40 million family caregivers feel, I said: “Perhaps one day, Congress will pass something like the bipartisan Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act.” It recently did and President Trump has signed it into law.
The RAISE Act aims to help relatives and partners who provide medical, household and financial assistance to loved ones.
Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine and a Next Avenue Influencer in Aging) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Representatives Greg Harper (R-Miss.) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) spearheaded the legislation.
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.”
– Next Avenue