Cape Gazette
http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/1195477

Legislation would provide for caregivers

By Jim Wilson | Jun 12, 2014

I’ve watched as many of my friends, family and neighbors have become family caregivers to help their parents, spouses and other loved ones live independently, at home - instead of costly nursing homes. I’ve noticed the remarkable things they’ve done, and also the challenges they’ve faced - like having no ability to take a break from 24/7 care, missed work time and financial hardship. I know more can be done to support them.

Family caregivers in Delaware alone provide $1.5 billion each year in unpaid care - performing tasks ranging from household chores to medical/nursing task like managing medications and cleaning feeding tubes. Yet, few have any training to carry out these sometimes complex tasks.

This year, AARP Delaware worked with Majority Leader Longhurst, Rep. Barbieri, and Sen. Long-Hall, to unanimously pass House Concurrent Resolution 57 in the Delaware House May 15, and with Sen. Long-Hall to pass the bill in the Senate June 5.

The resolution establishes a family caregiving task force to study and make recommendations on how to better support family caregivers and the loved ones they care for. Starting as early as July, the task force would bring together stakeholders from across the state to study Delaware’s policies and programs for family caregivers, to identify gaps, and recommend solutions.

The need for action is urgent. Delaware’s population is aging faster than most states. The U.S. Census predicts that by 2030, the First State will be home to an additional 130,000 individuals 50-plus. Today, family caregiving is the new normal and family caregivers need help to support Delaware’s quickly aging population.

AARP thanks the House and Senate for recognizing the 202,000 family caregivers in Delaware needing our support. More at www.aarp.org/caregiving.

Jim Wilson
AARP Volunteer
Lewes

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