Caregiving can be an emotionally, physically and financially draining role. Across Washington state, there are more than 335,000 people providing unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. In 2016, these caregivers provided an estimated 382 million hours of care valued at $4.8 billion.
I am a medical professional who treats persons with dementia. I see on a daily basis how caregiving needs not only create financial, emotional, and physical strain for caregivers, but also how these needs can overshadow and overwhelm core relationships. Family caregivers need support in order to continue their most important role as a son, daughter, spouse, etc.
I am proud to advocate for the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act, now moving through Congress as H.R. 3759. This bipartisan bill would provide much needed support to our nation’s caregivers.
Endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association, it would create of a national strategy to address the many issues facing caregivers, including education and training, long-term services and supports, and financial stability and security.
The RAISE Family Caregivers Act is consistent with the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, which seeks to expand and enhance training, education and support for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Please join me in thanking Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell for voting to pass the RAISE Family Caregivers Act and in urging Congressman Adam Smith to support this needed legislation in the coming months.
Lee Burnside, MD MBA