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Oklahoma Family Caregivers Provide 440 Million Hours in Unpaid Care to Family and Friends

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In Oklahoma approximately 530,000 family caregivers provided an estimated 440 million hours of care — worth a staggering $5.8 billion — to their parents, spouses, partners, and friends in 2017, according to state data available in the latest report of AARP's Valuing the Invaluable series. The complexity of family caregiving increases as medical and nursing tasks continue to enter the home, and family demographics change amidst an aging population.

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"Oklahoma caregivers are the unsung heroes who quietly go about the vital task of caring for more than half a million Oklahomans. Family caregivers are the backbone of the healthcare system and provide billions of dollars’ worth of caregiving services each year for our state’s most frail and vulnerable,” said Sean Voskuhl, AARP Oklahoma state director. “All too often, family caregivers are being asked to perform more complex medical tasks at home. We must ensure they are provided with proper training, support and resources.”

AARP is fighting to support family caregivers and the older family and friends who count on them. In 2019, AARP Oklahoma helped pass the most significant reforms in nursing home care in the last 15 years. The AARP Oklahoma Nursing Home CARE (Creating Accountability, Reform and Excellence) Plan eliminates a nursing home’s ability to use dangerous antipsychotic drugs as chemical restraints, creates a new program to ensure every senior is presented with all of their long-term options, ties nursing home reimbursement rates to quality of care and increases staffing at nursing homes.

In 2020, AARP will continue to fight for commonsense solutions to give family caregivers more support, help at home, training and more. Those solutions include:

· CARE (Care, Advise, Record and Enable) Act Implementation: AARP Oklahoma was the first state in the country to pass the CARE Act and will work to ensure protections are fully realized through various regulatory measures.

· Home and Community Based Care: Significantly increasing—or protecting against significant decreases in — the number of older adults who have access to state-funded services at home, like home care and adult day care.

· Nurse-Family Caregiver Connection: Bills to cut through the red tape that prevents nurses from doing their jobs.

To review state figures and the methodology, visit: www.aarp.org/valuing. Resources and information on family caregiving, including AARP’s Prepare to Care Guides, are available at www.aarp.org/caregiving.

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