The National Center on Caregiving at Family Caregiver Alliance has issued a new policy brief, A Call for National Leadership: Family Caregiving and Long-Term Care—A Crucial Issue for America’s Families.
Prepared to help draw attention to the issues during the election, the brief provides current research and demographic information and explains why family caregivers must be a major topic, and why
a national caregiving agenda must be a central part of any health care reform.
The report states that long-term caregiving, once one of the most personal and private matters in family life, is an urgent, growing public issue, affecting one in five American adults. In the 21st Century, family caregivers continue to be themost neglected group in the health and long-term care system, despite their contributions worth $257 billion in unpaid services and support—more than double the annual spending on home care and nursing home care combined.
Former First Ladies Nancy Reagan, Rosalynn Carter and Sen. Hillary Clinton have spoken eloquently about the challenges of caregiving in our aging society—challenges that are a reality of daily life for millions of American families as they provide care for spouses, parents, other relatives or friends with chronic illnesses or disabilities.
One national poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans under age 60 believe they will have to care for an older relative in the next decade.
Another poll finds that nearly six of 10 Americans say presidential and congressional candidates’ views on health reform are a “very important” factor in their vote this November. The brief underscores that the time to act on a national caregiving agenda is now. Families desperately need help and support—not to supplant what they are already doing, but to sustain them as they struggle to care for a loved one who needs assistance.
The policy brief is available free on the FCA website at www.caregiver.org, or in print by sending $25 to Publication Orders, Family Caregiver Alliance, 180 Montgomery St., Ste. 1100, San Francisco, CA 94104.
The brief is part of a series of publications on caregiving produced by the National Center on Caregiving at Family Caregiver Alliance and funded by the Archstone Foundation. For more information about the policy brief, contact Lynn Friss Feinberg at (415) 434-3388.
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