Crown Heights

Clarke signs House letter demanding resources for elderly

Caregivers need help too, congresswoman says

April 10, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke says the federal government needs to act now to ensure that older adults will get proper care in the future. Photo courtesy Clarke’s office

U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke was among 33 members of congress the Eldercare Workforce Alliance lauded for signing a letter demanding billions of dollars in federal resources for the country’s elderly and their caregivers.

“The Eldercare Workforce Alliance (EWA) applauds the 33 members of the House of Representatives who signed a letter urging the House Chair and Ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies to provide adequate funding for programs designed to increase the number of health care professionals prepared to care for the growing older adult population and support family caregivers in the essential role they play,” a statement on the alliance’s website, www.eldercareworkforce.org, reads.

The alliance is a coalition of 30 national organizations working together to advocate for more funding and resources for elderly Americans.

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Along with her colleagues, Clarke (D-Central Brooklyn) is asking for $44.7 million for geriatrics education programs, $197.5 million for programs that support family caregivers, $1.67 billion to support research efforts of the National Institute on Aging, and $6.7 million for additional workforce programs at the Health and Human Services Administration.

“As our life expectancy continues to increase, the need for geriatric health care professionals and caregivers will also increase. We have a shared responsibility to support the dedicated professionals and family members who provide assistance to older adults,” Clarke said in a statement.

“By 2030, the number of older adults in the United States will increase by seventy-seven percent to nearly seventy-one million. We must act now to have the health care professionals and caregivers we need, that we ourselves will depend on, by expanding educational opportunities, training, and other forms of support that professionals and caregivers will require,” Clarke said.

Ten-thousand Baby Boomers hit the milestone birthday of 65 every day, according to the Eldercare Workforce Alliance, which also estimated that the number of Americans over the age of 65 is expected to reach 70 million by the year 2030.

Clarke has also advocated for resources for hospitals to train doctors and nurses who will be needed to provide health care for the country’s aging population in the coming years.


The letter was circulated by U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) and U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui (D-California).  

Schakowsky said the needs of people who serve as caregivers to elderly relatives need to be taken into consideration. “The latest data shows that family caregivers across America provided more than 40.3 billion hours of unpaid care at an estimated value of $450 billion,” she said in a statement.

 


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