Editor:

Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act of 2017 (H.R. 3759). This bill, co-sponsored by Reps. Elise Stefanik, Paul Tonko and John Faso, would require the development and implementation of a coordinated national strategy to recognize and support family caregivers.

In New York, over 1 million unpaid family caregivers provide more than 1 billion hours of care for approximately 390,000 individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementia. The work provided by these caregivers is valued at more than $14 billion. More than half of these caregivers have been caring for a loved one with dementia for at least two years, and one third of them provide 20 or more hours of care per week. And more than one in five dementia caregivers are in the “sandwich generation” — caring for both someone with dementia and a child or grandchild.

The RAISE Family Caregivers Act would provide much-needed support for these caregivers by facilitating the creation of a family caregiving strategy to address the many issues facing caregivers today including: education and training, long-term services and supports, and financial stability and security. A similar bill was passed in the Senate, but because the two bills are not identical, next steps require the two chambers to reconcile the differences between the two bills.

The Alzheimer’s Association and family caregivers in our area appreciate the leadership offered by our elected officials.

William R. Hinrichs, Associate Director of Advocacy and Federal Government Affairs and Joan K. Tarantino, Ambassador, Northeastern Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association

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