I was invited by the CT Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to meet with Rep. Jim Himes along with three other caregivers. The objective of the meeting was to help him understand the challenges of being a caregiver and raise his awareness and get his support for two pending pieces of legislation.
We all had some powerful stories to tell and I think we had some impact on him. He listened patiently and asked some good questions. After breaking, he continued to talk one on one with a couple of us. Two of us were FTD caregivers.
There are two bills in Congress that address the needs of caregivers that he recently signed on for as a cosponsor.
- Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage Family Caregivers Act of 2015 or the RAISE Family Caregivers Act – H.R. 3099
This bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop, maintain, and periodically update a National Family Caregiving Strategy. HHS shall convene a Family Caregiving Advisory Council to advise it on recognizing and supporting family caregivers. Read more.
- PCHETA: Palliative Care and Hospice Training Act – H.R. 3119
This bill amends the Public Health Service Act to require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award grants or contracts for Palliative Care and Hospice Education Centers. These Centers must improve the training of health professionals in palliative care and establish traineeships for individuals preparing for advanced education nursing degrees, social work degrees, or advanced degrees in physician assistant studies in palliative care. Read more.
We should all take the opportunity to speak to our representatives when they hold their town hall, community meetings, write to them, and make sure that caregiving is a topic that they hear about and understand.