Prior to meeting with Charmain S. Fuller Cooper, North Carolina’s Associate Director of Advocacy for the AARP, my definition of the organization was not unlike that of many of my peers. The AARP that I grew up knowing works for retired people. Now I know that what was once called the American Association of Retired Persons has broadened its horizons.
Today’s AARP now reaches well beyond (and before) retirement-aged individuals. It has become one of the largest advocacy organizations in the U.S. — with a membership of almost 38 million — and resources that span many generations. AARP is a nonprofit organization with a mission to enhance the quality of life for all as they age. As a business owner within the in-home care industry, I met with Ms. Cooper to learn about how a friendship with the AARP can benefit family caregivers and their loved ones here in my home state of North Carolina.
AARP and Home Care Assist Supports Legislation for Caregivers
As Ms. Cooper explained, the AARP supports legislation that benefits aging families at the local, state, and national levels. With specific focus on financial and health security and personal fulfillment. These benefits include relief from the tremendous burdens placed on family caregivers as they selflessly care for their loved ones. In September of 2017, the senate unanimously passed a bill supported by the AARP, the RAISE Family Caregivers Act (Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage) that calls for a national strategy to help family caregivers.
At the local NC level, The Credit for Caring Act of 2017 (HR-2505) has been recognized by the AARP with their “Capitol Caregiver” Award. This act is recommended by the North Carolina Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia and co-sponsored by former Governor Pat McCrory. It aims to help family caregivers save money and cut red tape.
Additionally, the AARP is looking to the future by providing money management resources. For the 52% of North Carolinians who do not have a way to save for retirement, the AARP is advocating for public and private partnerships that encourage saving through payroll deductions. Supporting positive legislation for caregivers is something that many families and organizations, including Home Care Assist, can get behind.
AARP Knows Home Care
As a business owner and an advocate for caregivers, I’m constantly reading, studying, and seeking out information related to the home care industry. The wealth of knowledge that the AARP provides for both caregivers and people in need of in-home care is impressing. Ms. Cooper explained that the AARP publishes caregiver guides and checklists. These help families navigate resources for public funding, and compiles specific home care resources and statistics. I learned some interesting things from my meeting with the AARP:
Funding for the Family Caregiver in North Carolina
- The NC Division of Aging and Human Services grants up to $500 to fund a range of support that assists caregivers. More information on the The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) grants program can be found here.
- Project CARE respite grants allocate $1,500 to families caring for a loved one with dementia. The AARP would like to see Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty (CARE) initiatives in all 50 states.
Useful AARP Resources for the Family Caregiver
- Prepare to Care is a 36-page (downloadable) planning guide to help anyone along their journey of caring.
- Online AARP Care Guides helps take the stress out of family caregiving. Topics include: easing into the process, readying your home, caring from afar, dealing with conflicts, and more.
- AARP Research is a searchable database of local, state, and national expertise on aging.
Our mission here at Home Care Assist — to make quality connections between families and caregivers — is in line with AARP’s broader goal to enhance quality of life as we age. Like us, the things they do and the values they support, help families age in place, with dignity, and the comforts of home. For our community here at Home Care Assist, I hope to continue to connect with AARP leaders; to share their insight and learn from their expertise; and to support their advocacy for aging families and the caregivers on whom they depend.