U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, along with other members of Congress, joined leaders from the employer, health care, venture funding, entrepreneurial and consumer advocacy communities July 8 for a discussion on the challenges facing – and potential solutions for – the 40 million Americans who provide care for their parents, spouses/partners and other loved ones.

The Forum on Family Caregiving: Perspectives from Policymakers and Thought Leaders was convened by AARP on Capitol Hill as part of its ongoing work to support family caregivers.

At the forum, Sen. Collins, along with Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., announced new legislation: the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage Family Caregivers Act.

AARP is pleased to endorse this important legislation and thanks the senators for their efforts to work on a bipartisan basis to support family caregivers.

Most of us are, have been or will be a family caregiver or will need help to live independently, making this issue an ageless and nonpartisan one.

The RAISE Family Caregivers Act would require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers. The bill would create an advisory body to bring together relevant federal agencies and others from the private and public sectors to advise and make recommendations.

The strategy would identify specific actions that government, communities, providers, employers and others can take to recognize and support family caregivers and be updated annually.

By supporting family caregivers, we can help people stay at home where they want to be, helping to delay or prevent more costly nursing home care and unnecessary hospitalizations and saving taxpayer dollars.

AARP appreciates Sen. Collins’ bipartisan leadership and is committed to working to pass the RAISE Family Caregivers Act this year.

Rich Livingston

volunteer state president, AARP Maine

Auburn