New Jersey Voters 50+ Want to Age in Place – Not in Nursing Homes
AARP Poll Reveals Strong Support for Family Caregiver Tax Credit
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (June 29, 2022) – Among New Jersey voters 50 and older, there is overwhelming support (84%) for the state to expand the tax credit for Wounded Warrior caregivers to all family caregivers who provide care for older loved ones, according to a new poll from AARP.
According to the poll, nearly all (97%) respondents say it’s important to have services that help people stay at home as long as possible.
According to previous research, there are about 1 million family caregivers in New Jersey who provide unpaid care valued at $13 billion annually to help keep loved ones at home. On average, family caregivers spend 26 percent of their income on caregiving activities, and typically spend $7,242 annually on out-of-pocket expenses related to looking after their loved ones. Family caregivers are the bedrock of our long-term care system, yet receive little support.
The new AARP poll found four in ten (39%) New Jersey voters 50 and older are currently providing unpaid care or have provided unpaid care in the past to an adult family member. The demands on family caregivers will continue to increase as our population ages. It is estimated that 70 percent of adults who turn 65 will need some form of long-term care services during their lifetime. For the majority of these residents, the support of a family caregiver will be critical to their ability to stay at home.
Family caregivers often face challenges that put their own financial and emotional well-being at risk. Survey findings about unpaid family caregivers in New Jersey, include:
- Financial Impact: Nine in ten family caregivers have incurred expenses while caring for their loved one, with transportation being the most common expense.
- Significant Time Commitment: Nearly six in ten (58%) family caregivers spend at least 21 hours per week providing care.
- Emotional and Financial Stress: Three in four (76%) current and former caregivers say they are stressed emotionally due to their caregiving responsibilities, and three in four (77%) working caregivers say they feel stressed in balancing their work and their family responsibilities.
- Decreased Support: Family caregivers who provided care during the pandemic say they feel more socially isolated and lonely (57%), have fewer family members and friends available to help (45%), and have a worse financial situation than before the pandemic (39%).
“As a caregiver, there are moments I just want to give up,” said Sarabeth Abrams of Williamstown, New Jersey. “But I can’t because I have two parents who are unable to care for themselves. This is a full-time job whether you live in their home or not, and it does impact us and our family. There has to be some way to help us.”
“Family caregivers offer support to so many of our aging residents, but unfortunately, many don’t receive any compensation,” said State Senator James Beach. “While it is admirable to care for a loved one, it is not sustainable to spend 20 hours a week providing care, all while taking on additional expenses. By expanding the Wounded Warrior tax credit to all family caregivers, we can ensure our residents have the support they need during their golden years.”
Support for expanding New Jersey’s tax credit for Wounded Warrior caregivers to all family caregivers who provide care for older loved ones is bipartisan: among all respondents, 84 percent support the tax credit, 77 percent of Republicans, 92 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of Independents favor such assistance. There was also support across White (87%), Black (86%) and Latino (84%) voters.
“Our family caregivers play a vital role in the support system on which many of older loved ones rely,” said Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt. “By providing financial relief to caregivers through tax credits, we can help to ensure they can continue to provide this essential care.”
“New Jersey’s family caregivers are the first line of defense when it comes to keeping New Jerseyans in their homes, where they want to be, and out of costly nursing home care,” said AARP New Jersey Associate State Director of Advocacy Crystal McDonald. “We are fighting to pass legislation that provides financial support for family caregivers, and New Jersey voters – across party lines – support this much needed help.”
The report illustrates that voters 50 and older believe the state should do more to support caregivers: a majority of respondents support increasing funding to the state’s respite care program, support increasing community and state services to help seniors live independently at home, and believe the New Jersey government should do more to support affordable housing options for seniors.
AARP commissioned American Directions Research Group to field the survey of 1,200 New Jersey registered voters age 50 and older.
About AARP New Jersey
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. AARP New Jersey educates and advocates on behalf of those 50 and older on issues that are important to them, their families and to all Garden State residents. The organization works to strengthen New Jersey communities with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org/nj or follow @AARPNJ on social media.