Nearly 18 million family members in the United States provide care to older people who need assistance. They are often invisible members of our health care system who receive little preparation, training, or support. They make it possible for older adults to live in their homes, rather than an institutional setting, for as long as possible — which is what 87 percent of older Americans want. Yet, many states are not fully prepared to meet the needs of older adults, despite being the primary funders of long-term services and supports. Family caregivers can, and should, be a part of the solution.
While there’s no common system for sharing best practices in caregiving policy, five states have come together to learn from each other through Helping States Support Families Caring for an Aging America, an initiative led by the Center for Health Care Strategies and supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation, Milbank Memorial Fund, the May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. This blog post, recently published by The John A. Hartford Foundation, shares four common challenges in providing support to family caregivers and how this collaborative initiative is helping to reshape state policy and practice around this important issue.