New Congressional Caucus to Focus on Caregivers
March 9, 2015 01:26 PM
Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), along with Reps. Diane Black (R-TN) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NN), announced last week that they created the Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) caucus with the backing of AARP, the American Health Care Association, and other groups with a stake in providing health care and other support for caregivers. The new bipartisan, bicameral caucus will focus specifically on the needs of family caregivers in the United States.
Sen. Ayotte, as well as other leaders of the new caucus and some of their constituents, shared personal stories and experiences of their own informal, unpaid care-giving arrangements – arrangements that usually come with little notice or training and can fray nerves, family budgets and relationships.
“This is not a partisan issue. This is an issue that impacts every single American,” said Senator Ayotte at a recent press conference announcing the formation of the new ACT caucus.
Overwhelmingly, speakers reiterated, the national care-giving burden has been met by family members—and, in most cases, female family members who juggle childcare, careers and their own needs with caring for an adult relative.
While the four lawmakers offered who organized the caucus offered few specifics regarding the types of policies they might pursue, the AARP envisions educating lawmakers as the first step. The formation of a new caucus comes as demographic changes in the United States create an older society. With a larger proportion of aging Americans, the need for more caregivers and the resources to support them is increasing.