Senator Collins Announces New Legislation In Support Of Family Caregivers At National AARP Event

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — During the AARP National Caregiving Forum today, U.S. Senator Susan Collins announced new bipartisan legislation which she introduced along with Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). This legislation, the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage, or RAISE, Family Caregivers Act 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.

“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.”

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.

The RAISE Act is based on a recommendation of the bipartisan Commission on Long Term Care and modeled on the law Senator Collins co-authored in 2010 with then-Senator Evan Bayh that created a coordinated strategic national plan to combat Alzheimer’s disease. This legislation has also been endorsed by the AARP.