caregiving_iStock_000020545041Small_cmcleer495000_resizeIn 2015, Connecticut became one of 18 states to support family caregivers with the CARE Act. The law, which passed with bi-partisan support during the 2015 legislative session, supports the 500,000 family caregivers in Connecticut as their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home.

What is the CARE Act?
The CARE Act assists patients and their family caregivers when they are transitioning home from the hospital by requiring hospitals to:

• Provide patients the opportunity to designate a family caregiver
• Attempt to notify the caregiver before the patient is discharged back home
• Instruct the caregiver on the medical tasks—such as medication management, injections, wound care and transfers—that they will need to perform at home.

Why is the CARE Act needed?
Family caregivers in Connecticut provided 427 million hours of care to their parents, spouses, partners, and other adult loved ones in 2013, according to AARP Public Policy Institute’s new report, Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update.

The unpaid care they provide – everything from cooking, cleaning, transportation to doctor appointments and grocery shopping, to more medically oriented tasks, such as wound care and medication management – is valued at more than $5.9 billion annually.

Family caregivers report that the stress of caregiving affects their physical and emotional health, finances, and their jobs:

• More than half (55 percent) of family caregivers report being overwhelmed by the amount of care their family member needs.
• Nearly 4 in 10 (38 percent) family caregivers report a moderate (20 percent) to high degree (18 percent) of financial strain as a result of providing care.
• In 2014, the majority (60 percent) of family caregivers had full- or part-time jobs.

Family Caregivers in the Future
As Americans live longer and have fewer children, fewer family members will be available for older adults to rely on for everyday help in the future. The ratio of potential family caregivers to the growing number of older people has already begun a steep decline. In 2010, there were 7.2 potential family caregivers for every person age 80 and older. By 2030, that ratio will fall sharply to 4 to 1, and is projected to drop further to 3 to 1 in 2050.

Caregiver Resources
Request a free CARE Act wallet card to keep with your health insurance card. This card will provide you with quick access to the information you need to know about the CARE Act the next time you or a loved one is hospitalized. Additional valuable Caregiver resources:

• Download the Connecticut Caregiver Resource Guide. To download the Guide in Spanish, click here.
• To find the tools and support you need, as well as ways to connect with other caregivers, visit the AARP Caregiving Resource Center.
• Share your caregiving story and hear from other caregivers just like you by visiting iheartcaregivers.org.
• To stay up to date or get involved with our caregiving advocacy in the states, sign up for the AARP Advocates e-newsletter or visit our state Facebook page: Facebook.com/AARPCT