[OPINION] Caregivers Need Their Own Support

by AARP Volunteer Ron Paul of Sewell, NJ

The number of individuals over the age of 65 is expected to grow to nearly one-in-five residents by 2030. This demographic shift will make family caregiving more important than ever. Caregivers reported spending 20 hours each week and an average of over $5,000 each year out of their own pockets to care for a loved one. The New Jersey Caregiver’s Assistance Act, sponsored by Senators Norcross, Weinberg, and Gordon, provides a modest state tax credit to give much needed financial support to many caregivers.

It was estimated that two thirds of caregivers are female and more than 68% of care recipients are also female. This issue disproportionately affects women. Studies show that they are twice as likely as non-caregivers to have physical and mental health difficulties They need support to continue their valuable services.

AARP also thanks Senator Madden for joining as a co-sponsor to the bill. Supporting seniors’ desire to live in their own homes and communities avoids much more expensive costs for New Jersey’s long term services and supports system. The tax credit is just one part of needed reforms to provide financial support that will assist family caregivers and help them maintain their own health and well-being.

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