Over the last five years, the number of adults in the United States caring for a family member or friend age 50 or older has increased to more than 40 million individuals. Family caregiving is an activity that spans generations in all regions of the country — across all racial, ethnic, and cultural identities as well as income and education levels. Because individuals are living longer and are seeking to stay in their homes and communities as opposed to nursing facilities, the need for family caregivers will continue to grow. Ensuring that family caregivers have what they need to support their loved ones with complex needs, maintain their own well-being, and improve the health outcomes of older adults is critical especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This brief highlights the innovative cross-sector work of six states — Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Virginia — that participated in Helping States Support Families Caring for an Aging America, a Center for Health Care Strategies-led learning collaborative made possible through support from The John A. Hartford Foundation, the Milbank Memorial Fund, the May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The brief outlines key foundational elements used by the states in their work to strengthen family caregiving programs, and explores what is needed at the state and national levels to advance innovations to support family caregivers.