Reps. Lujan Grisham, Ros Lehtinen Introduce Care Corps Demonstration Program
Jul 27, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced legislation today to create a Care Corps demonstration program that is designed to provide support for family caregivers and help meet the growing demand for the care of aging and disabled Americans.
The Care Corps Demonstration Act will place volunteers in communities to work with seniors and individuals with disabilities who need extra support to live independently. In exchange, volunteers will receive health insurance and other benefits, such as tuition assistance.
“Seniors want to remain in their homes and they want control over their own health care,” Rep. Lujan Grisham said. “Most of all, they want to remain as independent as they can, for as long as they can. The same is true for individuals with disabilities. Care Corps will allow them to keep that independence.
“Unfortunately, we’re facing high costs, along with a shortage of direct-care workers, which results in the lack of access to these important services, especially for middle class families. A national Care Corps will help build the workforce, while building intergenerational relationships that allow seniors and young people to learn from each other.”
"Our nation faces a critical shortage of caregivers as millions of seniors and individuals with disabilities in South Florida and around the nation find themselves in need of dependable long-term home care and services,” Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said. “I’m proud to join with my colleague, Michelle, to introduce the Care Corps Demonstration Act to help ensure that elderly Americans receive the quality of life they deserve while empowering young men and women in our communities to address this pressing need and advance their careers."
A report by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, concludes that caregivers on the whole are becoming as diverse as the American population. And they face significant challenges, whether it’s a “typical” caregiver – a 49-year-old woman taking care of a relative – or a 75-year-old supporting a loved one without paid help or help from relatives or friends.
The Care Corps program would connect younger volunteers with aging and disability populations, and increase access to services, while encouraging growth in the direct care and health care workforce.
Experts predict the U.S. will need to add at least 1 million more direct-care workers over the next 10 years to meet demand for caregivers. By 2030, there will be more than 72 million older Americans, making up 19-percent of the total population.
The legislation would help to fill those gaps and provide opportunities for young adults and others looking for a new career.
Highlights of the Care Corps Act:
- Authorizes grants for the creation of local Care Corps programs at $10 million per year over five years.
- Public or private non-profit groups would apply for Care Corps grants and administer the program locally, training and assigning members to communities in need.
- Volunteers would be trained to support the achievement and maintenance of the highest level of independent living; however, they would not provide professional medical services, administrative support services, or institutional care.
- Corps members would receive living allowances and benefits, including health insurance coverage, during their volunteer period, and would be eligible for tuition assistance or loan repayment after they complete their assignment.
- Volunteers would be assigned to work in areas that have a shortage of services or a high concentration of low-income or minority individuals.
Several prominent organizations have endorsed the Care Corps Demonstration Act, including:
- Caregiver Action Network
- American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR)
- National Hispanic Medical Association
- National Alliance for Caregiving