Senators Collins, Baldwin Introduce RAISE Family Caregivers Act

The bipartisan legislation would establish a national strategy to support family caregivers.

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage, or RAISE, Family Caregivers Act today.

The RAISE Act would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop and sustain a national strategy to recognize and support the 43 million family caregivers in the United States. This bipartisan legislation has been endorsed by a number of aging and disability organizations including the AARP and the Alzheimer’s Association. U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) are cosponsors of the bill.

“Family caregivers are an invaluable resource to our society, devoting enormous time and attention and making many personal and financial sacrifices to care for their loved ones,” said Senator Collins. “As our population grows older, the number of uncompensated family caregivers providing high-quality, long-term care will only increase. By developing a coordinated, national strategic plan, our bipartisan legislation would help us leverage our resources, promote best practices, and expand the services and training available to caregivers.”

“Every day, family caregivers put their own health, livelihoods and financial security at risk to tend to the needs of their loved ones, many of whom require full-time assistance and care. 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 bipartisan 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. I will continue to work to move this legislation forward and ensure that everyone has access to the care and assistance they need and deserve.”

“Almost everyone is, has been, or will be a family caregiver or will need the help of one someday. About 178,000 Mainers care for their loved ones and help them live independently in their homes and communities. These family caregivers have a big job, but some commonsense solutions can help make their job a little bit easier. Thank you Senator Collins for your leadership and the introduction of the RAISE Family Caregivers Act to develop a strategy to support our nation’s family caregivers,” said AARP Maine State Director Lori Parham.

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:

  • 43 million family caregivers in the United States provided an estimated $470 billion in uncompensated long-term care in 2013.
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    • 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 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.