AARP is fighting to help seniors live independently and for the family caregivers who make it possible for them to stay in their homes. In any given year an estimated 735,000 Kentuckians are caregivers for a loved one. These family caregivers are the backbone of the state’s long term care system providing unpaid assistance to Kentucky’s elderly and vulnerable citizens. They provide an estimated 704 million hours of care at an estimated value of $7.1 billion.
Following discussion and testimony by AARP Kentucky State President Jim Kimbrough before the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, the committee unanimously passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 102 (SCR 102). Sponsored by Senator Morgan McGarvey (Jefferson-19), it directs the Legislative Research Commission to study family care-giving and long-term supports and services in Kentucky.
The bill now moves to the Senate Floor for debate and action.
AARP Kentucky supports passage of SCR 102 and needs your phone calls to your state Senators in Frankfort.
Take Action: Call 1-800-372-7181 Ask your Senator to vote “Yes” on Senate Concurrent Resolution 102. Tell them it’s a fitting way to honor and support family caregivers in Kentucky. Send email to state legislators, click here.
Jim Kimbrough’s testimony before Senate Health and Welfare Committee on SCR 102 is below:
March 5, 2014
Unsung and Unselfish: Family Caregivers
Good Morning Madame Chair and Members of the Committee,
My name is Jim Kimbrough and I am the AARP Kentucky State President. I appreciated the opportunity to briefly share with you why we believe Senate Concurrent Resolution 102 will make a difference in the quality of life for all Kentuckians.
Ask yourself who in the course of your life has been there when you, a family member or neighbor have needed extra help when they could not care for themselves.
There’s a group of unsung heroes that fan out every day across Kentucky. In cities big and small, rural and urban, they do things like give baths and help others get dressed. They dispense medicine and provide transportation to doctor’s appointments. They are family caregivers.
Included in SCR 102 are just some of numbers and analysis about Kentuckians and the current state of caregiving. But this issue is much bigger and more important than just numbers.
In any given year, some 735,000 Kentuckians make it possible for their loved ones to live independently at home. By helping with basic tasks of daily living, their mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters can stay at home where they want to be rather than move to a more costly nursing home.
No one knows exactly when they will become a caregiver or need extra care. And chances are: you know, have been, are one or will be a family caregiver.
I hear stories from family caregivers all the time. They work hard to help their loved one live at home, while trying to keep up with their own jobs and make ends meet. They are unselfish, underappreciated and, sadly, often unprepared.
This is why AARP Kentucky is asking the General Assembly to appoint the Legislative Research Commission to study existing caregiver programs and develop recommendations on enhancing those supports. These include:
o Provide training and support for caregivers, to help seniors to stay at home where they want to be, and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations
o Help caregivers in the workplace so that they can care for loved ones without putting their jobs at risk.
o Ensure that caregiver needs are assessed in the plan of care.
o Reduce the financial burden of caregivers.
o Permit home care workers to perform certain tasks that could otherwise only be performed by a licensed nurse or the family caregiver.
Finally, if you take a moment and think about your family and those living in your district, you have seen first-hand the value of family caregivers. We want to thank and applaud every family caregiver today and tomorrow who are caring for a loved one. But, we also want to do more and begin thinking and planning for the future of Kentucky.
Passing SCR 102 would be a fitting way to honor and support family caregivers in Kentucky. The General Assembly has an important opportunity before it today: Preparing for Tomorrow.
- The AARP Caregiving Resource Center provides an easy way to join an online community of caregivers, learn about local services, and connect with others who understand what you’re going through. Just click on www.aarp.org/caregiving.