Released on September 13th, a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine examines the challenges family caregivers currently face and what will be needed in the future. The report, “Families Caring for an Aging America,” offers a number of public policy recommendations to address the issues. The authors recommend a call to action for the next president, recommending that the new administration “take steps to address the health, economic and social issues facing family caregivers of older Americans.” Further, they urge the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with other federal agencies and private-sector groups, to create a National Family Caregiver Strategy recognizing the vital role family caregivers play in the health of older Americans. The presidential campaigns are now proposing ideas to help adult children who are caring for aging parents. Both candidates are talking about an issue that until now has flown far below the political radar. This is the first time major party candidates for president have proposed ways to help caregivers. The plans are very different and a serious scrutiny of each candidate’s plan is necessary to determine the potential value, but finally there now is political talk about this important topic. The U.S. has between 17 million and 44 million family caregivers – it depends on who is doing the counting. Many questions remain: Tax deduction? What is the plan? Who will pay? Who will benefit most? How helpful would tax subsidies be for low-income households? Tax credit for a portion of the caregiving costs? Social Security work credit? Respite support? Training and pay for paid aides? Despite the differences in these plans, and their problems, the real news is that family caregiving has made it to the presidential campaign. That doesn’t assure that Congress would do anything to support caregivers in the coming years, but it does make it somewhat more likely. This is a beginning! Read more at:
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