AARP Recognizes Legislators who Support Family Caregivers

Posted on 12/8/17 by Jon Bartholomew

Clackamas, OR – To recognize their integral work to support family caregivers in Oregon, AARP names Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, Sen. Jackie Winters, Sen. Richard Devlin, Sen. Tim Knopp, Rep. Nancy Nathanson, Rep. Dan Rayfield, and Rep. Greg Smith as 2017 “Capitol Caregivers,” a bipartisan group of nearly 100 elected officials from more than 30 states. These leaders have advanced policies to support Oregon’s family caregivers, who help their parents, spouses and other loved ones live independently at home and in the community—where they want to be.

“AARP thanks Senators Steiner Hayward, Winters, Devlin and Knopp, and Representatives Nathanson, Rayfield and Smith for championing the preservation of funding for long term supports and services that help to keep Oregonians in their own homes this year,” says Jerry Cohen, state director of AARP, which serves more than 510,000 members age 50 and older in Oregon. “They provided key leadership to pass a budget this year that does not cut critical services for older Oregonians and help make the big responsibilities of family caregivers in Oregon a little bit easier.”

The state budget passed during the 2017 legislative session contained no cuts to programs like Oregon Project Independence, which provides basic help to older families to help keep people in their own homes. The budget also protected funding for family caregiver training programs and the Aging and Disability Resource Connection of Oregon (ADRC) that helps people find appropriate care, supports, and resources.

Across Oregon, about 47,000 Oregonians provide unpaid care for their older parents, spouses, children and adults with disabilities, and other loved ones— valued at about $5.7 billion annually. They help with bathing and dressing, meal preparation, managing finances, transportation, grocery shopping and more.

“Family caregivers provide invaluable care to their loved ones,” says Cohen. “And they need our support.”

AARP Oregon will present the Capitol Caregiver awards to these legislators during January legislative days at the State Capitol in Salem.

“Funding long term supports and services is just a first step to providing a little bit of help for family caregivers,” says Cohen. “AARP will continue to fight for Oregon’s family caregivers and their loved ones in 2018: for more support, help at home, workplace flexibility, training, relief and more.