AARP NJ was happy to host over 150 participants at our bilingual event for family caregivers in North Bergen, NJ on Friday, May 11th.  We highlighted our advocacy work and recent legislation passed to provide relief and support for caregivers in our state, and also had invited speakers discuss local and county programs and services, as well as tips on stress management and self-care.  Invited organizations and presenters included Hudson County Dept. of Health & Human Services, Bergen county Division of Senior Services, ACT NOW Foundation, MY CPR CARD NOW, NAMI en Español, United Way of Northern NJ, and Senior Medicare Patrol.  As a treat, we also engaged our participants in a Zumba session and Spanish radio Amor 93.1 entertained our guests with music and give-aways.

Key legislation highlighted:

Earned Sick Leave (A1827/S2171): will ensure working caregivers do not have to put themselves at financial risk in order to provide care for their loved ones. It requires employers to provide earned sick leave to their employees to care for themselves or a family member including individuals who are the equivalent of family. Employees will accrue one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours a year. The bill will go into effect this October.

The Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act went into effect May 2015. Recognizes the changing nature of health care and the critical role family caregivers play in keeping their loved ones out of hospitals.  Features three important provisions:

  1. The name of the family caregiver is recorded when a loved one is admitted into a hospital;
  2. The family caregiver is notified if the loved one is to be discharged to another facility or back home; and,
  3. The hospital must provide an explanation and live or video instruction of the medical tasks – such as medication management, injections, wound care, and transfers – that the family caregiver will perform at home.

AARP Resources:

AARP has tools, information and support available for family caregivers. The AARP Caregiving Resource Center (www.aarp.org/caregiving or call 1-888-333-5885) provides an easy way to join an online community of other family caregivers, learn about local services, get helpful information, and connect with others who understand caregiving challenges