Lynn Friss Feinberg, MSW, is a senior strategic policy advisor for the AARP Public Policy Institute. She has conducted policy analysis and applied research on family caregiving and long-term services and supports for more than 30 years.

Changing the Way We Look at Families Caring for an Aging America

While family caregiving is an intensely personal issue, it is critically important to the well-being of our aging U.S. population, families and society — and must be taken seriously as a critical issue of public policy. That’s according to a recent report on family caregiving for older adults from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report, developed and authored by a 19-member expert committee of which I was a member, highlights the shortcoming of both the health …

The National Family Caregiver Support Program: Recognizing Family Caregivers as Consumers in Their Own Right

A recent study on the pioneering National Family Caregiver Support Program finds that over the past 15 years, the program has accelerated the development of local services and supports to help caregiving families. This is good news; before the NFCSP became law, only half the states reported providing respite care — one of the most pressing needs of families and friends who take on the caregiving role.  That has begun to change, although greater progress needs to be made. Landmark …

Eldercare Primarily Concerns Older Workers and Their Employers, Right? Think Again

For employers big and small, the need to support workers who also provide unpaid care for a family member is a growing reality. Most family caregivers today — or an estimated 23.9 million workers — work at a paying job on top of their caregiving responsibilities. Yet today, care for a relative with a serious illness or disability takes place in a very different world from that of our grandparents’ generation.  To start, the role of family caregivers has greatly …

Everyone Needs a Break Sometimes—Especially Family Caregivers

Respite is one of the most pressing needs of families and friends who take on a caregiving role. The need for caregiver supportive services — including respite care — is only going to rise as the U.S. population ages. Respite care provides temporary relief from the daily stress of caregiving, such as living with and caring for a grandfather with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. The purpose of respite care is to give the family caregiver time away — to get a …

Accelerating the Pace of Change for Caregiving Families

Not a day goes by that I don’t meet someone who is caring for a parent, another adult family member or a close friend with a chronic, disabling or serious health condition. This unpaid family care — known as “family caregiving” — is almost universal today as our population ages. Despite some recent policy advances at the federal and state levels, the pace of change must accelerate to adequately recognize and explicitly support caregiving families. The good news: Not all …

What’s Different About Family Caregiving Today?

This is a pivotal time. Converging sociodemographic trends and more complex care needs are contributing to historically unprecedented challenges in family care of older people in the U.S. For most of human history, requiring help in old age was uncommon. As Atul Gawande writes in Being Mortal, “The natural course was to die before old age.” Only 41 percent of people born in 1900 survived to age 65. In sharp contrast, an estimated 84 percent of people born in 2010 …