2016 Election Determines Future of Caregiving

Updated 08/04/2017 4:50pm | When a loved one is injured or sick, there is nothing scarier than the thought of leaving them alone. Hiring a caregiver would be costly, and you’re concerned about the quality of care your loved one might receive. As a result, caregiving becomes your second full-time job—and it's taking a financial and emotional toll on you

You heard on the news that this year’s election could positively change caregiving. You’re not sure who to vote for yet, but you definitely want to contribute to the change.

In this post we talk about caregivers and the politicians' stance on improving caregiving.

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Who is a Caregiver?

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A caregiver is a friend, a family member, or an employed helper who takes care of children, seniors, or anyone who needs extra assistance. Here are a caregiver’s typical responsibilities:

  • Meal preparation – Being a caregiver often means preparing meals for your patient. However, it’s not as simple as just grabbing what’s convenient. Caregivers must be extra careful about any allergies or dietary restrictions a patient may have.
  • Personal care – When a patient has limited mobility, a caregiver acts as another set of hands. Caregivers assist with the patient’s personal care routine such as dressing, bathing, and basic grooming.
  • Medical needs – A caregiver may handle the patient’s medicine and treatments. This may include administrating injections or assisting with physical therapy. Caregivers may assume the role of a driver, bringing the patient to and from the hospital.
  • Household management – Keeping the house tidy is a regular duty for caregivers. They may do some basic cleaning, laundry, or occasionally shopping for the patient.
  • Companionship –  Among all the tasks of a caregiver, being a friend is arguably one of the most important. Sometimes patients just need a shoulder to lean on.

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Caregiving Today

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There are two different types of caregivers: family and paid. In this next section we highlight the different struggles caregivers face.

Family Caregivers

It’s common for the family caregiver to have a full time job on top of caregiving. Family caregivers make sacrifices in their professional lives for their loved ones.  In some cases, caregivers take extended time off to focus on their loved ones’ health. This causes the family caregiver to quickly run out of sick hours and take unpaid leave.

Consequently, they end up losing a large chunk of income. When family caregivers take a pay cut, they hurt their own benefits. For example, the pay cut can decrease the amount of Social Security benefits they can redeem later on in life.

Paid Caregivers

Paid caregivers face their own set of troubles. With all that they do, caregivers are undervalued. The average caregiver’s pay ranges from $8/hour - $16/hour. This amounts to about $16,000 - $32,000 per year.

On top of low wages, caregivers often work long hours and travel frequently. Some patients live alone and need constant attention, which means a caregiver can spend up to 12 hours a day working. If a caregiver has more than one patient, they will have to spend time travelling to different patients. 

Hillary Clinton

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As much as we care for our loved ones, caregiving can be a struggle. Fortunately, the 2016 election can start a change. Here’s what the presidential candidates have to say about the future of caregiving.

Pros:
 

  • Increasing Social Security Clinton’s idea is to increase the Social Security budget. The budget increase will compensate for lost income when caregivers spend time off work for loved ones.
  • Providing tax credit Clinton plans to offer a 20% tax credit (up to $6,000) to help caregivers with out-of-pocket expenses for their loved ones.
  • Improving caregiver workforceClinton hopes to elevate the professional caregiving workforce through hands-on learning programs and establishing fair compensation.

Cons:

  • Increasing taxes Clinton has a controversial plan to expand Social Security. She intends to increase taxes on the highest income bracket – a target audience that has little interest in Social Security and no support for her plan.

Donald Trump

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Pros:

 

  • Providing tax credit Trump plans to implement a tax deduction for caregivers (up to $5,000). Low income families will receive additional reimbursements for caregiving.
  • Creating savings accounts Trump plans to allow families to create “Dependent Care Savings Accounts”. Under this plan, families can establish a tax-free savings account to support future caregiving costs.

Cons:

  • Overlooking costs Trump makes no indication of how he plans to fund his new caregiving programs.

Your Vote Matters

As a caregiver, the battles you face can wear you thin. It’s not easy taking care of those in need.

Don’t worry – this year’s election could increase the amount of benefits caregivers receive. Vote in the 2016 election. It’s your chance to improve the lives of caregivers everywhere.

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