Seniors Care About Care. What About Candidates?

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AARP released new polling data today illuminating the concerns of voters age 50 and above — and the deep concerns seniors have for the issue of caregiving and for the people who provide that care. With seniors representing the majority of voters in this election cycle so far, it borders on irresponsible that the presidential candidates are not talking more about caregiving.

Among the key findings:

  • A vast majority of voters surveyed — 87 percent — indicated that during this election cycle, they want to hear the candidates’ positions on helping seniors live independently.
  • More than 8 in 10 of AARP’s poll respondents expressed broad support for caregivers. They believe it would be helpful to have a range of information and supports for family caregivers, including respite care and breaks, assistance with transportation to appointments, assistance with household chores, assistance with meals, and assistance with managing medications.
  • There is very strong support for Congress to pass a tax credit for family caregivers (88%), especially from African-American (95%) and Hispanic (95%) respondents.

“Although some of the candidates have spent time on the campaign trail talking about caregiving, voters still have more questions than answers on this issue,” said Kevin Simowitz, Political Director for Caring Across Generations. “We need clear proposals from all candidates, outlining in detail how they would address the growing needs of caregivers and those for whom they provide care.”

Exit polling by AARP showing voters age 50+ representing an average of 60% of voters in Republican primaries and 55% of voters in Democratic primaries in the current election cycle. Past AARP polls have also found that 90 percent of seniors wish to age at home for as long as possible. But as it currently stands, the U.S. is woefully behind in creating the caregiving infrastructure to make that possible.

Family caregivers and paid caregivers are the key to helping seniors maintain their independence and remain at home safely, and as Baby Boomers continue to age into retirement, more of them will need in-home care. Yet family caregivers are being stretched too thin and paid caregivers are making less $20,000 a year — barely enough to support their own families. Support for both needs to reflect the the realities and needs of today’s families.

Simowitz continued, “Americans are fortunate — people are living longer, giving us more time to enjoy with our loved ones. But we’re at risk of turning fortune into misfortune. Our future leaders need to put forth a comprehensive plan to help our loved ones age with dignity. The relative absence of public discussion on caregiving in the face of a national election and an unprecedented ‘age wave’ borders on irresponsible. Our nation’s seniors will play an integral role in choosing the next American president — and their growing need for care, as well as the needs of the people who perform that care, can no longer be ignored.”

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 7, 2016

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Kathleen Duffy
Press & Communications Manager
e: kathleen@caringacrossgenerations.org
c: 773.934.4754

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