Senators Collins And Baldwin Introduce RAISE Family Caregivers Act

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) 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.

“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.”

“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 Tammy 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 legislation 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.