by Lilyan Cralle, AARP advocate volunteer
New Jersey has the second oldest population in the country. They need help. They need care. And the people who care for them need help too.
Currently, there are 1,750,000 caregivers who provide 1 billion hours of unpaid care each year for friends and loved ones in New Jersey. These caregivers provide care to an estimated 72 % of older people, not in institutions, but in their homes. They are your friends, family members, neighbors. You may well be one too.
The Caregiver’s Assistance Act, S2515/A3404 sponsored by Senator Donald Norcross and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt would provide much-needed helping hand through a modest tax credit to help cover related expenses. What will this mean to caregivers? The “average” caregiver is a 49-year old woman who works outside the home while spending 20 hours per week providing unpaid care to her mother for five years. This would provide modest, but meaningful financial relief. Two thirds of caregivers are women and more than 68% of care recipients are women. These caregivers certainly deserve some recognition. It’s the least we can do.
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