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Congressional Caucus Launched to Address Family Caregiving

March 13, 2015

A bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators launched the Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) Caucus on March 5, to educate Congress on challenges facing family caregivers and encourage legislative action on solutions.

Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Representatives Diane Black (R-TN) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) will co-chair the caucus.

The launch event featured the release of findings from a new AARP poll on family caregiving, which found that 77 percent of registered voters over 40 think that Congress should take action to improve resources for family caregivers.

The event also included personal testimony from four family caregivers: Dr. Tobey Partch-Davies of New Hampshire, Don Schierling of Colorado, Chris Courington of Tennessee, and Marianita Gorman of New Mexico. They each spoke of the need for support and services and the impact caregiving responsibilities has had on them and other family members.

The average family caregiver is a 49-year-old woman who provides 20 hours a week of assistance to their loved one.

All four of the caucus co-chairs spoke passionately about the importance of family caregivers both to individuals who need assistance and to our nation’s economy. When family caregivers are unavailable or unable to provide assistance to their loved ones, paid direct-care workers provide 70-80 percent of the hands-on care needed by individuals.

— by Gail MacInnes, PHI Government Affairs Manager

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