More than 123,000 Delawareans care for older parents, spouses, children and adults with disabilities or other loved ones, helping them to live independently in their homes and communities – where they want to be.

AARP advocates for family caregivers – and the loved ones who count on them. In 2016, AARP worked with a statewide coalition of partners to pass the CARE Act. The CARE Act makes it possible for those receiving care to remain at home and recover successfully with the support of family and friends. In Delaware alone, unpaid care provided for loved ones is valued at $1.58 billion each year. Imagine the fiscal impact if these dedicated individuals were unable to provide care.

Patients are leaving hospitals sooner, and will more ailments. Caregivers are finding themselves performing complex medical tasks such as wound care or managing medication in their homes with little or no training. To help address this, the bill makes hospital discharge less stressful by giving patients the opportunity to identify a caregiver; and offering instruction / demonstration of the care needed once their loved one returns home.

On the national level, AARP has worked to pass hundreds of new laws to provide family caregivers access to care at home, workplace flexibility, training, relief and much more.

Family caregivers are the backbone of America’s care system, yet they continue to face physical, emotional and financial challenges as they care for loved ones. Most juggle caregiving duties while also working full or part time jobs. They also use on average about 20 percent of their own income, about $7,000 a year, on necessities like home modifications, assistive technology and adult day care. Some are still raising their own families.

As you consider a candidate during the upcoming election season, keep in mind the caregiving issue and other issues that affect Delawareans age 50+. Medicare, Social Security, prescription drug prices are all issues that will have an impact on the well being and quality of life of Delaware’s older population.

The best way to make your voice heard is to VOTE. Every vote counts, including yours. Keep in mind these key dates:

August 11                    DEADLINE to register to vote in the primary

September 6               PRIMARY ELECTION

October 13                  DEADLINE for unregistered citizens to register to vote in the general election

November 6                GENERAL ELECTION, polls open from 7 am to 8 pm

 Pledge your vote at www.aarp.org/voteand show Delaware’s elected officials  you’re watching!

Delaware’s one-stop shop for voters www.iVote.DE.gov