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Congressional panel to support caregivers

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Four members of Congress have joined to form the Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) Caucus.

A caucus is a club for lawmakers. Organizers of the ACT Caucus say their caucus will work to “bring greater attention to family caregiving and helping people live independently, educate Congress on these issues and engage members on a bipartisan basis to help lead to solutions with the support of AARP and other national organizations.”

The caucus co-chairs in the Senate are Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

The co-chairs in the House are Reps. Diane Black, R-Tenn., and Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M.

AARP produced a video promoting the caucus, and it released survey results supporting the idea that government efforts to help family caregivers have bipartisan support.

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AARP estimates that 42 million family caregivers provide about 40 billion in unpaid care for adults each year.

Jo Ann Jenkins, the AARP chief executive officer, said in a statement that the bipartisan leadership of the caucus is significant. “It sends a message that members of Congress recognize that the issues facing family caregivers and the desire to live independently and with dignity are not bound by politics or ideology,” Jenkins said.

Lujan Grisham said she’s a caregiver for her own elderly mother. “I have a deep respect and understanding of the rigorous and demanding responsibilities that fall on the shoulders of a caregiver,” she said.

In addition to AARP, the list of groups welcoming the launch of the caucus included the National Council on Aging and the American Health Care Association.

See also: Aging conference takes shape