Let’s Get Family Caregivers the Support They Need and Deserve

Posted on 11/08/23

November is National Family Caregivers Month, which seeks to shine a bright light on the more than 48 million American heroes, including 820,000 here in Washington state, helping care for their loved ones independently at home – where they want to be.

Washington’s caregivers provide 770-million hours of care every year, adding up to $16.8 billion in unpaid labor annually. Family caregivers spend these countless hours managing medications, preparing meals, helping with bathing and dressing and so much more. The financial, physical, and emotional toll is great on them.

This is why AARP advocates for commonsense solutions to save time, money and provide more support. Chances are if you are not a family caregiver, you know someone who is. Take time this month to thank one in your life for their time and dedication.

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I Am A Caregiver
AARP is launching a nationwide movement, I Am A Caregiver. To many lawmakers, America’s millions of caregivers are invisible. Yet, these family caregivers are the backbone of our long-term care system. Which is why AARP is looking for your help; we are starting a movement of family caregivers to show lawmakers that we are a powerful constituency who need support now.

Raise your hand and join the fight at aarp.org/iamacaregiver

Advocating for Caregivers in Washington
AARP is calling on Congress and state legislatures to pass legislation that will help family caregivers save time and money, and provide more support.

In Washington our top legislative priorities are:

  • Fund Adult Day Services: While Washington state ranks 2nd in the nation when it comes to our long-term care system, we are near the very bottom of the list when it comes to adult day services (48th in the nation) that provide respite to family caregivers. Adult day care is a daytime program, typically consisting of four hours of services, providing the participant with an opportunity to socialize with peers, enjoy a meal and snack, engage in exercise programs, and receive periodic health monitoring by a nurse.
  • Strengthen supports for caregivers and families of people with dementia: Caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias experience a high level of stress. Improving support and caregiver well-being can help keep persons with dementia living in the community rather than being placed in institutional settings.
  • Bolster nursing home and in-home care workforce: Address the shortage of nursing home and in-home care workers through improved recruitment and training, and increased pay.

 
Resources for Family Caregivers
AARP offers free resources to help those caring for loved ones to help them navigate their role as a caregiver and provide more support.

  • Caring for Caregivers: a website about and for Washington state caregivers. Get tips, tools, resources and more, including episodes of our new “Caring for Caregivers” video podcast.
  • State Resource Guides: A Washington state resource guide providing you with resources to meet you where you are.
  • Caregiving Resources: Resources on caregiver life balance, financial and legal issues, care at home, health and more.
  • 10 Tips for Family Caregivers: A list of ten tips to get started on your caregiving journey.
  • Financial Workbook for Caregivers: A guide focused on health, housing and money management for caregivers.
  • AARP Caregiving Community: An AARP online community where caregivers can talk with other caregivers and get answers from experts in the community
    - AARP Facebook Group: A place to connect, share practical tips, offer support, and discuss family caregiving experiences.
    - AARP Caregiving Support Line: A toll free-family caregiving line for those taking care of their loved ones.

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