Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Seniors Rally to Support Family Caregiver Bill

Andrea Sears, Public News Service

Family members in Pennsylvania provide care for loved ones worth an estimated $19.2 billion annually. Courtesy: AARP.
Family members in Pennsylvania provide care for loved ones worth an estimated $19.2 billion annually. Courtesy: AARP.
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Seniors rallied in the Capitol Rotunda this morning, urging senators to pass the Caregiver Advise, Record and Enable Act (CARE).

Currently, 1.6 million Pennsylvanians are serving as unpaid caregivers for family members. According to Desiree Hung at AARP Pennsylvania, the bill would help ensure that older adults who have been hospitalized get the continuing care they need once they are released.

"They can identify a caregiver who would take care of them once they leave," she says. "And it would provide some training for the caregiver, so that person could care best for their loved one."

The CARE Act passed the House in June with only one dissenting vote, and has been adopted in more than a dozen other states. Hung says AARP is confident the Pennsylvania Senate will pass the bill as well.

She adds they are also asking lawmakers to ensure caregivers have access to home care and adult daycare resources, and to fund additional support with state lottery proceeds.

"People want to stay in their homes as long as possible, and supporting programs to build up home- and community-based care would certainly go a long way to helping people do that," says Hung.

It's estimated family caregivers in Pennsylvania provide more than 1.5 billion hours of unpaid assistance for loved ones every year.

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