There are 43 million Americans caring for a frail older adult or a person with a disability. Yet few of the political parties acknowledge this large and growing part of our population. The Family Caregiver Platform Project (FCPP), caregivercorps.org, hopes to change that. As a national, non-partisan effort, the FCPP aims to marshal the power of family caregivers by helping them raise their voices in a coherent message that asks for greater recognition and support.
The FCPP encourages caregivers to bring their concerns to their local political party, because individuals can often have greater impact at the county, district or state levels. They need to petition for new policies that will address family caregiver needs—such as more training, inclusion in care plans, and organized volunteer help. If politicians agree that caregiver issues are important, they can vote to include them in their party platform.
Why are platforms important? Political platforms reflect issues that matter to the people in that party and state. As declarations of value, the platforms will guide future policy decisions in that state and may eventually influence the national agenda. In the next few months, meetings will be held in 36 states to shape policy priorities in the form of platform planks or resolutions. Now is the time to carry suggestions to the political parties in your state.
What will you say? Language for submissions to a political party can be found on the FCPP master list of policy suggestions. There are also easy-to-use templates for model language for platform submissions and resolutions, and a memo focused on family values and fiscal responsibility.
To whom will you say it? State listings on the FCPP website include key contacts, dates for meetings and deadlines for submissions, some of which can be done on-line. People who want to advocate for family caregivers can also reach the FCPP team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit caregivercorps.org and sign up to support family caregivers and receive updates on the success of the movement to get caregiving issues on the political radar this year.
Just Care offers a wide range of simple expert advice for caregivers, including:
- PACE helps older adults stay in their communities
- Five ways to ensure your loved ones are safe and healthy
- Talking to your loved ones about an advance care plan
- Protecting older adults from financial scams
- How to prevent elder abuse
- How to help someone you love decide when to stop driving
- A tech solution that can offer peace of mind to caregivers