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AARP to Congress: Family Caregivers Need More Support

Woman reading to mother at table
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We called for federal legislation to support family caregivers and to help older Americans and those with disabilities remain in their homes, in a letter Wednesday to leaders of the U.S. Senate’s Special Committee on Aging.

“Finding care at home is extremely challenging: families often must desperately cobble together a patchwork of care and services they need,” Bill Sweeney, AARP’s senior vice president of government affairs, wrote in the letter to committee chairman Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and ranking member Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

With 3 in 4 respondents to a recent AARP survey of older adults saying they want to remain in their homes and communities as long as possible, we’re specifically urging Congress to invest more in home care.

In a Wednesday hearing on expanding home care options, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) cited an AARP report that found more than 48 million people — 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. — serve as an unpaid caregiver for a family member or loved one. “It’s clear that we need to ramp up our investment and improve the availability of home- and community-based services and our care infrastructure for many more Americans.”

We’re also asking lawmakers to prioritize the passage of the Credit for Caring Act, which would provide a tax credit of up to $5,000 to help people cover expenses related to caregiving. A recent AARP report found that, on average, family caregivers spend 26 percent of their income — more than $7,200 — each year on caregiving expenses.

Sen. Scott cited a separate AARP report during the Wednesday hearing, which found that more than 40 million Americans provide roughly 34 billion hours of unpaid care each year. “That, to me, is astounding,” he said.

Read our letter to lawmakers and watch a recording of the hearing.

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