In an election year filled with partisanship and political fights, it’s no surprise that many Americans feel that their voices aren’t being heard or that the issues that affect their lives aren’t being addressed. But, many outstanding elected officials work hard every day to make a positive difference for their constituents.
That’s why AARP recognizes state legislators, governors, and other elected officials – from both sides of the aisle – who have stepped up and worked together to write, support, and advance common-sense policies that help older Americans remain in their homes and communities and retire with confidence.
AARP is proud to announce our fifth annual bipartisan class of Capitol Caregivers, who fought this year to increase support for family caregivers and their loved ones, along with our fourth annual bipartisan class of Super Savers, who championed policies that enhance retirement security.
Every day, more than 40 million Americans help aging parents, spouses, children with disabilities and other loved ones with a whole host of tasks that help them live independently in their homes and communities – things like assisting with bathing and dressing, preparing meals, driving to doctor visits, paying bills, and administering medication and other medical tasks. About sixty percent balance their caregiving responsibilities with full- or part-time jobs, and some are also raising families.
AARP is fighting for commonsense solutions to make these big responsibilities a little bit easier, and we’ve seen real progress in states across the country.
AARP’s 2018 class of Capitol Caregivers includes 58 state legislators and 6 governors from more than 20 states who championed policies that:
- support family caregivers when their loved ones are admitted to the hospital and as they transition home
- give nurse practitioners the full authority to heal by cutting through the red tape that prevents them from doing their jobs
- help working caregivers to balance responsibilities at home and work with workplace flexibility and paid and unpaid leave policies
- update state guardianship laws to better protect vulnerable adults and provide family caregivers and other legal guardians more training and support
- help protect vulnerable adults and provide their caregivers with the tools they need to make important financial decisions through power of attorney laws
- break down the barriers that prevent use of telehealth — using digital information and communication technologies, like computers and mobile devices
- protect or increase the number of older adults who have access to state-funded services at home, like home care and adult day care
A list of AARP’s 2018 Capitol Caregivers and the legislation they championed can be found 2018 Capitol Caregivers.
Today, a secure retirement is out of reach for millions of Americans, especially those who are self-employed or work for small businesses. About half of all U.S. households are at risk of not having enough savings to maintain their standard of living in retirement, which means it will be difficult to pay the bills or put food on the table.
Social Security is a critical piece of the retirement puzzle, but it is not enough on its own for true financial security. The average annual Social Security benefit for a 65+ family is approximately $18,000, and older American families on average spend $20,000 annually on food, utilities and healthcare.
To help Americans increase their retirement savings, AARP is advocating for Work and Save programs that allow businesses to access a retirement savings option for their employees with little effort and no cost or risk. Research shows that workers are 15 times more likely to save for retirement when they have a payroll deduction savings program at work.
AARP’s fourth class of Super Savers includes a governor, two state treasurers and 17 state legislators who led efforts to help workers increase their retirement savings.
A list of AARP’s 2018 Super Savers and the efforts they championed can be found 2018 Super Savers
Nancy LeaMond is AARP chief advocacy and engagement officer. She leads the organization’s Communities, State and National Group, including government relations, advocacy and public education for AARP’s social change agenda. LeaMond also has responsibility for AARP’s state operation, which includes offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
You can follow her on Twitter @NancyLeaMond.