ANN ARBOR, MI— The Family Caregiving Platform Project has launched a national campaign to get family caregiving issues included in state political party platforms across the United States. The nonpartisan project reaches out to individual volunteers and organizations to raise awareness of caregiving issues.
A new website, CaregiverCorps.org, will coordinate grassroots efforts to educate and motivate state and national policymakers to improve support for family caregivers and the frail elderly Americans for whom they selflessly provide support. CaregiverCorps.org outlines policy platform ideas that individuals and groups can bring to government and community organizations at a local level.
Sixty-five million Americans provide care for someone whom they love who is elderly, ill, or disabled. This number will grow as the nation ages. At the same time, the pool of potential caregivers will shrink, creating a significant care gap.
Victoria Walker, MD, Chief Medical and Quality Officer for the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, said, “State political parties will be meeting and discussing their values and priorities leading up to the 2016 election. We want to encourage family caregiver support issues to be included in these discussions and on as many state party policy platforms as possible. These issues are important to American families of all political philosophies. We believe everyone should be able to contribute policy suggestions to improve the lives of caregivers.”
Anne Montgomery, Senior Policy Analyst at Altarum Institute, has taken the issue of the care gap to both the Senate and the House of Representatives. “Family caregivers are liked on both sides of the aisle, but families can’t do it alone,” she noted. “Neither can federal or state governments. We need a third level of activity: community activism.”
Helping caregivers helps the nation. Greater support from caring community members can help families keep their elders at home, saving millions of dollars in state and federal spending while giving older adults what they want most. With a little more organized help from better-targeted programs, more family caregivers could keep their jobs and contribute to the country’s economic prosperity. Family caregivers who selflessly volunteer their help are “local heroes” in our communities. By joining the Family Caregiving Platform Project, you can help to recognize and validate their contribution.
There are many ways to improve the lives of caregivers. Options for action vary by state and community. There are many kinds of families and community needs. Recognizing diversity is important to all of us.
The Family Caregiver Platform Project is supported by a grant from the Stern Family Foundation to the Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness at Altarum. The project is also made possible through the Health and Aging Policy Fellows program, through the generous support of Atlantic Philanthropies and the John A. Hartford Foundation.
The Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness (CECAI) works on policy, economics, public education, community demonstrations, and other fronts related to serious chronic illness and frailty due to advancing age. CECAI is directed by Joanne Lynn, MD. CECAI is sponsored by Altarum Institute, a nonprofit research and consulting organization. For more information, visit www.medicaring.org.
Altarum Institute (www.altarum.org) integrates objective research and client-centered consulting skills to deliver comprehensive, systems-based solutions that improve health and health care. Altarum employs more than 400 individuals and is headquartered in Ann Arbor, MI, with additional offices in the Washington, D.C., area; Portland, Maine; and San Antonio, Texas.