68% say it is important for Congress to take action to help seniors live independently in their own homes
Voters across the country want Congress to address family caregiving issues, according to a new AARP poll released this month, conducted by the bipartisan polling team of Fabrizio Ward and Impact Research. This is especially true for those age 50 and older: over two-thirds of voters, and 75% of voters 50+, say it is very important for Congress to help seniors live in their own homes. More than half (57%) say the same for supporting unpaid family caregivers.
An overwhelming majority of voters, 78%, are either a current, past, or future family caregiver. Over 70% of voters across the political spectrum say they would be more likely to support a candidate who backed proposals to support family caregivers, such as a tax credit, paid family leave, and more support and respite services.
Family caregivers in Montana provide an estimated 105 million hours of unpaid care for older parents, spouses, and other loved ones each year. In 2021, care provided by unpaid family caregivers in Montana was valued at $1.76 billion. Approximately 112,000 Montanans are now family caregivers, according to new state data available in AARP’s latest report in the Valuing the Invaluable series [www.aarp.org/valuing]. This is a $350 million increase in unpaid contributions in Montana since the last report was released in 2019.
“Today in Montana, a silent army of family caregivers are the backbone of our state’s care system providing home care for older adults and those with disabilities,” said Tim Summers, AARP Montana State Director. “Family caregivers are everyday heroes who are the first line of defense against older Montanans being forced from their homes and into nursing homes or back into the hospital. It’s important that we take care of our caregivers. It is time for Congress to enact commonsense solutions that support family caregivers and help older Montanans live independently in their homes, where they want to be.”
The poll also found that:
- Legislative proposals are strongly supported across party lines: 89% of Democrats and 72% of Republicans support expanding services to help seniors live at home instead of a nursing home. Requiring minimum staffing standards in nursing homes so residents receive quality care is supported by 89% of Democrats and 74% of Republicans.
- Black voters, women, Democrats, and Latinos are especially likely to see long-term care and support for caregivers as key issues. Among those groups, 77% of women, 82% of Black voters, 71% of Latinos and 77% of Democrats say expanding services to help seniors live independently in their own homes instead of a nursing home is very or extremely important.
- Most caregivers feel stressed emotionally, stretched thin in both time and money, and overwhelmed; 40% of all family caregivers say they spend over 20 hours a week on caregiving, with almost half (48%) of women caregivers spending over 20 hours a week.
- Anxiety over caregiving is not limited to those currently providing care—more than two-thirds of voters express concerns about whether they will be able to get the care they need as they grow older or live independently.
“The data is clear: regardless of your political stripes, people adamantly want to age at home rather than a nursing home,” said Tony Fabrizio, partner in Fabrizio Ward. “It’s why support for helping caregivers is so politically important.”
“Family caregivers are stressed emotionally and financially, and proposals to help them are overwhelmingly popular and key to helping older Americans remain in their homes,” said John Anzalone, founder of Impact Research. “This may be the sleeper issue of the 2024 elections with a voting group that makes up one in five Americans.”
AARP is calling on state and federal lawmakers to:
- Provide eligible family caregivers with financial relief to help cover some of their costs for caring for a family member.
- Provide paid family leave so family caregivers can care for loved ones without losing their job or salary.
- Expand access to family caregiver support and respite services to allow family caregivers to take a break, helping prevent burnout and allowing them to keep caring for their loved ones.
- Expand services to help seniors remain in their homes as they age.
Survey Methodology: AARP commissioned the bipartisan polling team of Fabrizio Ward and Impact Research to conduct the survey by phone and text-to-web from April 4-10, 2023. The final poll included 1,425 registered voters with oversamples of voters age 50+, Black voters, Latino voters, AAPI voters, and family caregivers. The margin of error for the 1,425 adults’ sample is +/- 3.4% at the 95% level of confidence. For the oversampled groups, the margins of error are: +/- 3.4% for voters 50+, +/- 6.9% for Black and Latino voters, +/- 8.9% for AAPI voters, and +/- 4.9% for voters 50+. View the full poll results: https://www.aarp.org/research/topics/care/info-2023/voters-views-caregiving-support.html
About AARP: AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol @AARPadvocates and @AliadosAdelante on social media.
About AARP Montana: For over 50 years, AARP has been working right here in big sky country to improve the lives of Montanans 50 plus. As one of Montanan’s a largest non-profit membership organizations, with more than 134,000 members, we advocate for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. We’re committed to helping already great communities across Montana become even better places for people of all ages to live and thrive by granting funds through our Community Challenge Grant Program. We fund small dollar, big impact projects in several categories, including transportation, safe streets, housing and public parks and trails.
We also connect Montanans with information and resources as well as help people connect with others who share their interests and passions – like music! As a main sponsor of the Helena Symphony’s Masterworks Series, we’re proud to help bring quality concerts to the community. By fighting on issues that matter most to Montana families and providing trusted information, we’re helping to empower Montanans to choose how they live as they age. As a nonpartisan organization, AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political action committees, campaigns or candidates. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org/MT or follow @AARPMontana on social media.