To recognize their integral work to support family caregivers in North Dakota, AARP named Senator Judy Lee, West Fargo, Representative Kathy Hogan, Fargo, and Representative Jay Seibel, Beulah, as 2017 “Capitol Caregivers,” a bipartisan group of nearly 100 elected officials from more than 30 states. These leaders have advanced policies to support family caregivers, who help their parents, spouses and other loved ones live independently at home and in the community.
“AARP thanks Senator Lee and Representatives Hogan and Seibel for championing legislation to support the state’s 62,100 family caregivers,” said AARP North Dakota State Director Josh Askvig.
Senator Lee chairs the Senate Human Services Committee, which gave both a caregiver supports bill and the CARE Act a “do pass” recommendation. She has been an advocate for caregivers and spoke passionately on the Senate floor during debate about how important caregivers are and how the state can help them do their jobs.
Representative Hogan spearheaded the work on the CARE Act and the caregiver supports bill as chair of the Interim Human Services Committee, which introduced both bills in the House of Representatives. She was a leader in the House in support of both bills and also testified before the House Human Services Committee as the bills were being heard.
Representative Seibel also served on the Interim Human Services Committee and carried the caregiver supports bill to the floor of the House.
Across North Dakota, 62,100 people provide unpaid care for their older parents, spouses, children and adults with disabilities, and other loved ones – valued at $860 million annually. They help with bathing and dressing, meal preparation, managing finances, transportation, grocery shopping and more.
“Family caregivers provide invaluable care to their loved ones and they need our support through policies that can make their jobs just a little easier,” said Askvig.
AARP presented “Capital Caregiver” certificates to Senator Lee and Representative Hogan during a legislative interim committee meeting in Bismarck. Representative Seibel will be presented with his certificate at a later date.
The 2017 legislature passed House Bill 1038, which provides family caregivers with improved access to respite care and other resources that support caregivers.
Two CARE Act bills (House Bill 1039 and Senator Bill 2215) were both defeated in the House. This legislation would support family caregivers when their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home, including demonstration of medical tasks a caregiver is expected to perform at home.
“AARP will continue to fight for North Dakota’s family caregivers and their loved ones during the 2019 legislative session, including more support, help at home, workplace flexibility, and the CARE Act. We need to do all we can to help family caregivers in this important role,” Askvig said.
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