Highlighting Honolulu

Older Hawai`i Voters Overwhelmingly Support Family Caregivers

Posted on 03/26/24

Older registered voters overwhelmingly support a tax credit for family caregivers, according to a new AARP Hawai`i survey of registered voters 40 and older. That support is widespread and cuts across the political spectrum. Most respondents said the state does not provide enough support to family caregivers.

Eighty-nine percent of voters surveyed support a limited state income tax credit to offset the expenses of family caregivers as they help their older parents, spouses, and other loved ones. The support for a tax credit crosses party lines – 88 percent of Republicans, 88 percent of Independents and 90 percent of Democrats support a family caregiver tax credit with a large majority (66%) saying they strongly support a tax credit.

In addition, 53 percent of older Hawai`i voters said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate that supports a caregiver tax credit.

“The need for family caregivers is growing as our population ages and the financial and work strain that family caregivers endure isn’t going away,” said Keali`i Lopez, AARP Hawai`i state director. “Our kupuna want to live at home as they age. They don’t want to go to expensive taxpayer funded nursing homes if they can avoid it. Older voters in Hawai`i support the creation of a limited state income tax credit for family caregivers. Now is the time for the Legislature to act and help save family caregivers time and money and provide more support.

House Bill 1769, to create a family caregiver tax credit, was deferred by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. But House Bill 2404, which would expand eligibility for the state adult dependent tax credit, remains alive in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. AARP Hawai`i is asking the committee to consider amendments to expand the dependent care tax credit to allow more caregivers to benefit and to pass H.B. 2404.

AARP Hawai`i estimates that there are about 154,000 family caregivers in Hawai`i who provide 144 million hours of unpaid care to their loved ones each year, valued at $2.6 billion in unpaid labor.

The new survey provides more insight into older caregivers in Hawai`i. Nearly half (45 percent) of older voters said they have experience providing care to a family member or friend with about one in seven currently providing care and three in ten having been a caregiver in the past. Sixty-seven percent feel or felt emotionally stressed and 27 percent felt financially stressed due their caregiving. Ninety percent of caregivers and former caregivers said they incurred expenses while caregiving. Transportation is the most common expense (73 percent). About four in ten Hawai`i caregivers have modified their own home or a loved one’s home or have purchased medical equipment. At least one in three bought prescription drugs or helped with housing costs such as rent, mortgage, utilities or other upkeep expenses. About one in four spend their own money on respite care and other medical costs.

“The average family caregiver in the U.S. spends about 26 percent of their income on caregiving, that adds up to an average of more than $7,200 a year. Family caregivers do so much for others and sacrifice so much. They deserve some recognition and support from the Legislature. We strongly believe this and the survey shows older voters believe this too,” Lopez said. “You can help us pass a family tax credit by contacting your state Senator. Go to action.aarp.org/hicares to learn more.”

AARP Hawaiʽi commissioned a telephone survey among 1,002 registered voters age 40-plus in Hawaiʽi to learn their views on caregiving and long-term care. The sample utilized an age-targeted landline and cell phone registered voter list obtained from Aristotle International. Quotas were used in this study based on age and gender and were filled based on responses to questions in the questionnaire. Respondents were selected at random from the main sample list to be dialed. American Directions Research Group (ADRG) asked to speak with the registered voter listed on the file. If that person was unavailable, ADRG asked to speak with another member of the household aged 40-plus who was registered to vote in Hawaiʽi. The interviews averaged 22 minutes in length and were conducted in English. The survey has a margin of sampling error of ± 3.1 percent. Voters were interviewed from February 6-27, 2024. The data is weighted by age, gender, race and ethnicity, and AARP membership status. Percentages reported are rounded.

This story is provided by AARP Hawaii. Visit the AARP Hawaii page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

Explore the free AARP HomeFit Guide

Upcoming AARP Events

View All AARP Events

Photo of Memorial Day AARP Membership Sale.

Contact AARP
in Honolulu