Providing care for a family member or other loved one is not an easy job, and it requires a great deal of support. Yet many caregivers’ needs have long gone unmet. As a result, many of these individuals are stretched thin and prone to burnout, which can hinder their ability to provide for their loved one. That’s why caregivers as well as advocacy groups have been shouting out for greater support so that caregivers and those in their care can live happier lives.
Well, the government is finally listening.
On Monday, January 15, President Donald Trump signed into law the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act. This piece of legislation will support the family caregivers in the United States—of which there are more than 40 million.
More specifically, the law requires the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services—currently Alex Azar—to construct a plan that will provide much-needed aid to caregivers who are looking after “a family member with an illness, disability, or ‘functional limitation.'” The plan will make suggestions for community resources and the federal, state, and local government as to how they could assist caregivers—according to The Mighty, that will include “respite options, financial security, workplace issues, and training supports related to hospice care and palliative care.”
Azar has 18 months to make this happen, with help from an advisory council made up of federal officials, caregivers, people with disabilities, and others involved with this particular community. Once the plan is set in place, it will be updated every other year.
The RAISE Family Caregivers Act has garnered bipartisan support, as well as applause from advocacy groups like the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network and the AARP.
“Family caregivers are the backbone of our care system in America,” said AARP’s chief advocacy and engagement officer Nancy LeaMond. “We need to make it easier for them to coordinate care for their loved ones, get information and resources, and take a break so they can rest and recharge.”
We at GreaterGood also applaud this Act and are excited to see what it will do for the millions of caregivers across the country.
A. Stout received a Bachelor of Arts in Writing through Grand Valley State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2015. In addition to being a passionate autism advocate, she is a member of various fandoms, a study abroad alumna, and an animal lover. She dreams of publishing novels and traveling all over the world someday.