Congressional act supports dementia caregivers

Supporters of Alzheimer’s-related services are applauding congressional action on national efforts helping patients and their caregivers.

The RAISE (Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, Engage) Family Caregivers Act, approved by Congress and signed into law by the president in January, addresses the needs of family caregiving by directing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a national strategy for education and  training, long-term service and support, and financial stability and security for caregivers. 

“On behalf of the more than 15 million Americans who provide unpaid care for people living with  Alzheimer’s and dementia, we want to thank” members of Congress for their “bipartisan support for family caregivers,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer’s Association’s chief public policy officer and executive director of the association’s advocacy arm, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM). “The development of a national strategy will have an immense impact in improved caregiver health and well-being, and will result in a higher quality of care for their loved ones.” 

For millions of Americans caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, the emotional, physical and financial costs can be overwhelming, Egge noted. Caregivers report higher levels of stress, depression and worse health outcomes than those providing care to non-dementia individuals. As a result, Alzheimer’s caregivers incurred $10.9 billion in additional health costs last year, according to AIM. 

Grassroots advocates and Alzheimer’s Association representastivers lobbied Congress in support of THE RAISE Act will continue to play an active role as HHS works develop and implements the national strategy, Egge said.