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.

Building a Family Caregiving Strategy to Align with the Real Needs of Families

In workplaces and at kitchen tables across the country, Americans are grappling with a growing issue that touches so many of us: the enormous struggles we face when caring for relatives and friends who need ongoing help because of a chronic illness, disability, or a serious health condition. Although family caregiving is an intensely personal issue, it also has become a critical public policy matter that can no longer be ignored. It touches just about every family in every state …

Moving Dementia Caregiver Support Services into the Mainstream

Many of you, like me, know that family caregiving for someone you love can be a source of deep satisfaction and meaning.  But caring for a person with dementia, known as dementia caregivers, can exact an especially high emotional, physical and financial toll on family members themselves. Dementia caregivers commonly experience more emotional upset, distress, isolation, and financial burdens than those caring for people with other illnesses who do not have dementia because daily care needs are progressive, complex, and …

The Financial Costs of Family Caregiving: A Stark Reality

Families and close friends are the most important source of support to older people and adults with a chronic, disabling or serious health condition. They already take personal responsibility for providing increasingly complex care to the tune of $470 billion (as of 2013). That figure, representing family caregivers’ unpaid contribution in dollars, roughly equals the combined sales of the four largest U.S. tech companies (Apple, IBM, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft, $469 billion) in 2013. The out-of-pocket hit Caregiving families feel …

High Anxiety: Paying for the Costs of Care

My almost 96-year-old mother is one of about half of older adults with disabilities serious enough to need long-term services and supports. She is nearly blind, has dementia and osteoporosis, and suffers from arthritis. Recently she’s begun to experience back pain too. She lived in her home of over 50 years until it was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. For the past four years she has been living in an assisted living facility in New Jersey, in the community she prefers. …

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 …