CARE Act: Help for Family Caregivers is Here

no-hair.jpg
Marianita and Robert

This week, New Mexico becomes the fifth state in the nation to implement the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act.  Passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Gov. Martinez, the Lay Caregiver Act, a version of the CARE Act, is a commonsense solution to help those caring for their older mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and other loved ones so they can live independently. The law ensures family caregivers have key support as their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home.

The CARE Act requires hospitals to:


  1. Record your name on the medical record of your loved one
  2. Inform you when your loved one is to be discharged to another facility or back home
  3. Give you education and instruction of the medical tasks you will need to perform at home, like managing medication or giving injections

As we celebrate this win for caregivers, I think back to earlier this year when I met Marianita from Albuquerque, New Mexico. As caregiver for her best friend, Robert, Marianita did everything he needed to live at home—where he wanted to be. Before Robert passed away from COPD, Marianita managed his many medications, gave him oxygen treatments, brought him to his doctor’s appointments, and more. She shared, “As a caregiver you don't really think about getting qualified in any shape or form, you just pick up on it and you just do it… you have to learn quickly and do what you need to do because your loved one is depending on you.”

Watch Marianita’s story:

Like Marianita, many caregivers take on medical tasks while caring for their parents, spouses, aunts, uncles, friends, and other loved ones.  In fact, in a recent AARP survey of New Mexico registered voters age 45-plus, 71% of caregivers said they’ve performed medical tasks – like wound care, giving injections, and more—while caring for a loved one.

Is the CARE Act in your state?
In addition to New Mexico, the CARE Act is or will be effective soon in the following states:

States to watch:

  • Illinois: The CARE Act, passed by the state legislature in May, was just sent to Gov. Rauner’s for his signature.
  • New York: Passed by the state legislature earlier this month, the bill now awaits Gov. Cuomo’s signature.
  • Rhode Island: Just last week the state legislature unanimously passed the CARE Act; it now goes to Gov. Raimondo’s desk.*

Further, over a dozen more states have introduced the CARE Act, with nine still working on the legislation this year.*  Check out where your state stands:

CARE-Act-Map

If you are a family caregiver, you’re not alone.

**CARE Act Update 7/16/15: The CARE Act is now also law in Maine and Rhode Island.

___________________________________________________________________________

elaine
Elaine Ryan is the vice president of State Advocacy and Strategy Integration (SASI) for AARP. She leads a team of dedicated legislative staff members who work with AARP state offices to advance advocacy with governors and state legislators, helping people 50-plus attain and maintain their health and financial security.

Follow Elaine on Twitter: @RoamTheDome

Search AARP Blogs

Related Posts
December 11, 2018 10:07 AM
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.
December 05, 2018 01:06 PM
Caroline is a mother of two children and a preschool teacher who unexpectedly became a family caregiver for her father after he suffered a major stroke. Her father, Tom, now deceased, lost the use of his right side and his ability to speak. Multiple surgeries and rehabilitation treatments later, he was able to live at home with the help of nurses. But it was up to Caroline to provide daily care, such as overseeing appointments and handling certain nursing responsibilities, like managing his medications. “I became the person my father could rely on more than anyone in the world,” Caroline said. “I became his safe place and his best friend.” In communities across the country, family caregivers like Caroline are caring for older parents, spouses and other loved ones, helping them to remain at home – where they want to be. Their tasks are done out of love and commitment, but are not easy. That’s why AARP is fighting for family caregivers and their loved ones in every state. In 2018, AARP advanced new policies to provide more help at home, flexibility at work, training, relief and more, which will benefit over 30 million family caregivers. Here are a couple highlights:
November 27, 2018 08:55 AM
A few months ago, I wrote a blog about the vital role that transportation options play in what we at AARP call “livable communities” – great places to live for people of all ages. Being able to get around is critical to earn a living, raise a family, contribute and stay connected to your community and enjoy life. And, having alternatives to getting behind the wheel of your own car is particularly important for older adults who want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.