A new survey of Alabama registered voters ages 40-plus finds that the vast majority, 82.3 percent, of current caregivers said they will provide future caregiver or assistance on an unpaid basis to an adult loved one. It also found that eight in 10 voters think it is very important to have more community resources and training for family caregivers.
The survey of 1,000 registered voters ages 40-plus conducted by AARP Alabama in February and March also found that 70.4 percent of current caregivers are feeling stressed and 61.1 percent of current working caregivers are stressed trying to balance work and family.
AARP is fighting to support America’s 40 million family caregivers who help make it possible for older Americans to live independently at home — where they want to be. One measure being considered this week in the Alabama Statehouse will bring needed support to Alabama’s 761,000 caregivers.
The bipartisan Alabama Family Caregivers Act, Senate Bill 376, sponsored by Sens. Vivian Figures and Steve Livingston, has already been enacted in 39 states. This commonsense legislation based on three proven practices supporting the family caregiver works to prevent hospital readmissions and helps reduce caregiver stress.
Voters show overwhelming bipartisan support for all three proven practices of the Family Caregivers Act:
– Ninety-five percent feel hospitals should be required to explain and demonstrate any medical or nursing tasks family caregivers will need to perform after the patient returns home.
– Ninety-two percent believe hospitals need to keep a family caregiver informed of major decisions,
like transferring or discharging the patient.
– Eighty-five percent favor requiring hospitals to record the name of a patient’s family caregiver in
the medical record upon admission.
“More than half, 58 percent, of current and former caregivers are taking care of parents, meaning that many have to balance the demands of work, their own children and other needs,” said AARP Alabama State Director Candi Williams. “That is why there is such strong support for this simple measure that will make their labor of love less stressful and demanding.”
Alabama’s family caregivers spend 708,000,000 hours each year caring for loved ones – a contribution totaling about $7.7 billion annually in unpaid care. They carry out tasks like managing finances, providing transportation, helping with bathing and dressing, cooking meals and more.
According to the survey, some family caregivers even take on complicated medical and managing medications. Once only done by doctors and nurses in hospitals, these tasks are now performed by family caregivers at home, most with little to no training.
“Family caregivers take on tasks that are exhausting, overwhelming, and stressful,” Williams said. “And the Alabama Family Caregivers Act is a no-cost, commonsense step to make these big responsibilities a little bit easier while also saving taxpayers money by lowering hospital readmissions.”
A copy of the 2019 survey can be found on states.aarp.org/alcaregivers.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin.
To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.