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AARP Hosts Lobby Day in Dover with volunteers

AARP and a team of supporters spent January 27, 2016 at Legislative Hall in Dover advocating for better support for caregivers. The group met with legislators including CARE Act sponsors Senator Bethany Hall-Long and House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst.  The group provided valuable information on the CARE Act, which will help make it possible for older Delawareans and other loved ones to live at home and in their own communities – which is where they want to be.

America is home to some 42 million unpaid family caregivers, and Delaware is no exception. At any given moment, some 123,000 Delawareans are providing unpaid family caregiving for parents, spouses, friends, or neighbors. This care is valued at 1.56 billion each year. Imagine the fiscal impact if these dedicated individuals were unable to provide care.

That’s why AARP is working with volunteers, legislators and other statewide coalitions to pass the CARE Act during this year’s legislative session. It’s an issue that affects all of us.

The CARE Act would improve the quality of life for both caregivers and those receiving care. This innovative piece of legislation will support family caregivers when their loved ones go into the hospital and make it less stressful when they are discharged. The CARE Act requires that a caregiver be identified if there is one; and that hospital staff provide training to that caregiver on medical tasks they will need to perform once their loved one returns home.

The CARE Act legislation has not yet been introduced, however it is urgent that we educate Delawareans about its importance as it moves through the process. Delawareans will be able to take action with their local elected officials.

Why is AARP taking on this fight? Because we aim to make life better for Americans age 50- plus and their families through information, education and advocacy. No one’s possibilities should ever be limited by age. The CARE Act will offer Delawareans a huge step toward living better no matter what their age, ethnicity or gender.

When it comes to family dynamics, family caregiving is now the norm. If you aren’t a caregiver now, chances are you were one in the past, or you will be one in the future. Caregiving touches all of us. It’s an issue that everyone deals with, from young to old and everywhere in between.

Family caregivers are unsung heroes. They provide transportation for loved ones, perform medical tasks, help with bathing and dressing, medication management and more. Often, the caregiver takes on a financial burden and misses work time to care for the loved one. Let’s pass the CARE Act now to improve the quality of life for the caregivers and those receiving care.

Read a recent News Journal story about Caregiving here. If you are a caregiver, we would like to share your story!

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