November is National Family Caregivers Month, making it an opportune time to focus on how to better support this vital workforce. Over the past five years, the number of adults in the U.S. caring for a family member or friend who is age 50 or older has increased to more than 40 million individuals. This growing workforce can potentially improve health care quality and outcomes by reinforcing providers’ care instructions at home, administering medications, and offering emotional support. While family caregiving can be rewarding, the strain of taking on tasks that professional health workers would typically provide and managing household chores and other responsibilities can negatively impact family caregivers’ health and well-being.
In this recent GrantWatch blog post, authors from CHCS, The John A. Hartford Foundation, and the Milbank Memorial Fund outline opportunities to strengthen family caregiver policies and programs through state collaboration. The blog post draws from the experience of states participating in the first phase of the Helping States Support Families Caring for an Aging America, a national initiative that is helping states strengthen family caregiver supports. The blog post highlights goals for the initiative’s second phase, which is recruiting new and returning states to address existing challenges this workforce faces, as well as new obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.