AARP calling on lawmakers to support family caregivers

WAFF 48's Claudia Peppenhorst reporting
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 6:21 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - AARP is calling on state lawmakers to support family caregivers as they are urging the state legislature to expand home care options and make them more affordable.

’Valuing the Invaluable’ is their goal to support and recognize family caregivers across the state.

According to a new report from AARP, the unpaid care provided by the 700,000 family caregivers in Alabama is valued at $8.3 billion per year. This is up $1.2 billion since their last report in 2019.

“Family caregivers are really stressed out and they are in many cases being forced to leave the workforce in order to take care of their loved ones,” said Jamie Harding with AARP Alabama.

Myra Bazzel is a full-time caregiver for her husband Chris. They have been married for 40 years. When he started showing the first symptoms of ALS 14 years ago, Myra says the decision to stay home was an easy one to make.

“There was really never a question about that because I wanted to care for him. We knew it was going to be a tough journey with ALS,” Bazzel said.

AARP is calling on state lawmakers to help and support caregivers like Myra. They want them to provide greater access to respite care, support services and training.

Daphne Jah is a caregiver for her mother. Her family wants her mother to be able to stay home but lack of training has caused them some difficulties in the process.

She is urging state legislators to make training and other resources more accessible to help families like hers.

“We want our loved ones to be able to stay home as long as they can. So we need the training to be able to take care of them,” Jah said. “We love our parents and we want them to be able to stay home but we need to know how to do that.”

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