Washington, D.C. — The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously passed legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to establish a national strategy to support family caregivers. The Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage, or RAISE, Family Caregivers Act will now be considered by the full Senate.
The RAISE Act would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop and sustain a national strategy to recognize and support the more than 40 million family caregivers in the United States. This bipartisan legislation has been endorsed by 58 aging and disability organizations, including the AARP, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Arc. U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) are cosponsors of the bill.
“Every day, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 years old. The need for care and support is increasing; however, the number of professional caregivers is shrinking,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan legislation would develop a coordinated, national strategic plan to help us leverage our resources, promote best practices, and expand the services and training available to caregivers. By supporting family caregivers, we can enable people to live at home, where they want to be, and delay or prevent more costly care and unnecessary hospitalizations.”
“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. “Our bipartisan legislation will create a national strategy and plan to assist family caregivers to help everyone have access to the care and assistance they need and deserve. As someone that served as my grandmother’s primary caregiver, this is personal to me. I am excited that this bipartisan legislation has cleared this important hurdle.”
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.
Senators Collins and Baldwin first introduced the RAISE Family Caregivers Act in July 2015, and the legislation passed the Senate unanimously in December 2015.
Important Facts on Family Caregivers:
- 40 million family caregivers in the United States provided an estimated $470 billion in uncompensated long-term care in 2013.
- Many caregivers are putting their own health at risk since caregivers experience high levels of stress and have a greater incidence of chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, and depression.
- Every day, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65, and as many as 90 percent of them have one or more chronic health conditions.
- Americans 85 and older are the fastest growing segment of the aging population. This population is most at risk for multiple and interacting health problems that can lead to disability and the need for round-the-clock care.