Opinion

Collins praised for sponsoring family caregivers act

To the Editor:

On behalf of the 178,000 unpaid family caregivers who reside in our state, AARP Maine applauds U.S. Sen. Susan Collins for her leadership in sponsoring the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act. AARP was pleased to endorse this important legislation and we thank Sen. Collins for her efforts to work on a bipartisan basis to support family caregivers here in Maine and across the country. 

Every day, millions of Americans provide care for parents, spouses, children and adults with disabilities and other loved ones to help them live independently in their homes and communities. The RAISE Family Caregivers Act, which now awaits the president’s signature, requires the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers. The bill creates an advisory body to bring together relevant federal agencies and others from the private and public sectors to advise and make recommendations. The strategy will identify specific actions that government, communities, providers, employers, and others can take to recognize and support family caregivers.

Family caregivers take on a range of tasks including managing medications, helping with bathing and dressing, preparing and feeding meals, arranging transportation, and handling financial and legal matters. The unpaid care that family caregivers provide in Maine is valued at $2.1 billion annually.

By supporting family caregivers, we can help older adults stay at home where they want to be. Delaying or preventing more costly nursing home care and unnecessary hospitalizations saves taxpayer dollars. The RAISE Family Caregivers Act is an important step in the right direction and AARP appreciates Sen. Collins’ commitment to family caregivers and their loved ones.

Lori Parham

AARP Maine state director

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