National Party Platforms Address “Homecare,” Acknowledge Aging Trends; Family Caregivers Specifically Referenced by Democrats

Guía de Regalos

ANN ARBOR, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Following a year of working with volunteers and advocates who submitted
language addressing the transformative aspects of aging and family
caregiving in 20 state party platforms through the Family
Caregiver Platform Project
(FCPP), Altarum Institute’s Center for
Elder Care and Advanced Illness is gratified that the draft Democratic
Party platform includes strong language supporting family caregivers:

“Our work and family policies must also ease the burden on family
caregivers, in part by creating a strong, stable workforce to help meet
families’ needs. We will take steps to expand and strengthen the
homecare workforce. We will increase childcare investments to make
quality childcare more affordable, boost wages for childcare workers,
and support the millions of people paying for, coordinating, or
providing care for aging relatives or those with disabilities.”

The final GOP national
party platform
approved in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18th,
states:

“Our aging population must have access to safe and affordable care.
Because most seniors desire to age at home, we will make homecare a
priority in public policy and will implement programs to protect against
elder abuse.”

The FCPP was established to include caregiving
issues
in state party political platforms across the country by
encouraging grassroots efforts to educate and motivate policymakers to
improve state and federal support for family caregivers. FCPP empowered,
trained, and activated individual volunteers and organizations to raise
awareness of caregiving issues by using the state platform adoption
process. A platform
is a declaration of a party’s stance on issues. These statements of
values are important mechanisms for political action.

The draft Democratic platform, which will be finalized at the national
convention next week in Philadelphia, also implicitly recognizes family
caregivers in a section addressing reforms of the Social Security
program:

“Democrats will expand Social Security so that every American can
retire with dignity and respect, including women who are shortchanged by
the current system because they are widowed or took time out of the
workforce to care for their children, aging parents, or ailing family
members.”

Neither national party platform specifically discusses expansion of
long-term supports and services. Both strongly support further work to
promote opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

At the state level, advocates working with the Family
Caregiver Platform Project
successfully submitted 20 planks and
resolutions calling for policymakers to improve the support of families
struggling with the pressures of caring for loved ones who are living
with serious illnesses and disabilities.

In Mississippi, a bipartisan concurrent resolution approved unanimously
in the spring of 2016 calls for “providing the educational resources and
skills necessary to provide senior citizens and individuals with special
needs the appropriate and adequate level of care.”

Specifically, the resolution states:

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF
MISSISSIPPI, THE SENATE CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do recognize and
support the important role that family caregivers play in Mississippi
and we support policies and initiatives to provide the support and
training needed to make family caregiving more feasible, affordable and
effective.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we encourage efforts at the state and
national level to analyze population demographic trends to determine
both current and future service requirements for care recipients and
caregivers, and to permit data-driven policy and program recommendations
about our aging populations and the workforce development needed to
empower those who need care to heal, age and live in peace.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we encourage employers to establish
policies that recognize the impact that caregiving can have on workers,
encouraging employers to find ways to support their workers during
difficult family times, and we encourage the creation of volunteer
“Caregiver Corps” to provide nonmedical assistance and companionship to
frail elders and others with disability at no public expense.

In other states, submissions in the form of planks were made to the
Arizona Democratic Party; Arkansas Republican Party; Colorado Democratic
Party; Illinois Republican Party; Indiana Democratic Party; Iowa
Republican and Democratic Parties; Maine Democratic Party; Minnesota
Democratic legislative resolution; Minnesota Republican Party; Nebraska
Republican and Democratic Parties; New Hampshire Democratic Party; New
Mexico Democratic Party; Oregon Democratic Party; Vermont Democratic
Party; and Washington State Democratic Party.

On behalf of the Family Caregiver Platform Project, we salute
policymakers, in both parties and at all levels of government, for
acknowledging the challenges faced by tens of millions of family
caregivers. With the upcoming release of a National Academy of Medicine
report on family caregiving this fall, and ongoing work spearheaded by a
bipartisan, bicameral
congressional caucus
, we have high expectations that making
substantial progress in our health and social services delivery systems
to provide better support to caring families across the country is not
only possible, but inevitable.

If you would like more information about specific state initiatives and
how to find like-minded advocates, send an email to info@medicaring.org.
To contact our national partners, click on the links below.

Family Caregiver Platform Project national partners and endorsers:

Altarum Institute (www.altarum.org)
integrates objective research and client-centered consulting skills to
deliver comprehensive, systems-based solutions that improve health and
health care. Altarum employs almost 400 individuals and is headquartered
in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with additional offices in the Washington, D.C.,
area; Portland, Maine; and San Antonio, Texas.

Contacts

Altarum Institute
Ken Schwartz, 202-772-5062
ken.schwartz@altarum.org