07.08.15

Senators Baldwin and Collins Introduce RAISE Family Caregivers Act

The Bipartisan RAISE Act Would Establish a National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the bipartisan Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage, or RAISE, Family Caregivers Act this afternoon. This legislation, endorsed by the AARP, would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a National Family Caregiving Project to develop and sustain a national strategy to support family caregivers.

At present, there are 43 million family caregivers in the United States, who, in 2009, provided an estimated $450 billion in uncompensated long-term care. This is an increase from $375 billion just two years earlier, and more than double the value of all paid long-term care.

In addition, 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.

“Family caregivers are integral to our long-term care system and our economy, but are too often over-looked as part of the care team for seniors and those with disabilities.  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 is why I am proud to introduce the bipartisan RAISE Family Caregivers Act to create a national strategy and plan to assist family caregivers. This 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, and I will continue to work to ensure that everyone has access to the care and assistance they need and deserve.”

“The American population is aging and the need for care and support is increasing. Family caregivers are an invaluable resource to our aging society.  Chances are that, sooner or later, we will all either be family caregivers or someone who needs one,” said Senator Collins.  “The RAISE Family Caregivers Act will launch a coordinated, national strategic plan that will help us to leverage our resources, promote innovation and promising practices, and provide our nation’s family caregivers with much-needed recognition and support.”

“AARP is very pleased to endorse the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act that would require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers.  There are about 524,000 family caregivers in Wisconsin who provide care to their loved ones valued at an estimated $5.8 billion in 2009. We appreciate Senator Baldwin’s bipartisan leadership on this legislation.  Our country relies on the contributions family caregivers make and should recognize and support them,” said Sam Wilson, AARP Wisconsin State Director.

"The role of the family caregiver -- whether a spouse, son or daughter, neighbor, or friend -- is such a critical and valuable component of our health and long-term care systems," said Robert Kellerman, Executive Director of the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, Wisconsin's largest area agency on aging. "By taking on the lion's share of the caregiving, family caregivers delay and even prevent the need for costly paid care services and nursing home admissions giving those needing care greater autonomy and dignity. We wholeheartedly endorse Senator Baldwin’s bipartisan RAISE Family Caregivers Act for recognizing the vital caregiving role and for establishing support that helps them care for their loved one -- and themselves." 

Wisconsin Organizations Supporting the RAISE Act:

AARP

The Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources (GWAAR)

The Wisconsin Aging Advocacy Network (WAAN)

Alzheimer’s Association Wisconsin Chapter Network

Learn more about the RAISE Act here.