In Support of Family Caregivers: A Snapshot of Five States

Jennifer Aufill
Julia Burgdorf
Jennifer Wolff
June 2019

Family caregivers play a foundational role in the care of older adults with complex needs and disabilities from both a health care and economic standpoint. As the “baby boom” population ages, the need for home- and community-based long-term services and supports will significantly increase. These changes will have a profound effect on the capacity of care delivery organizations and the budget of federal and state entitlement programs, making family caregivers a crucial piece of the puzzle in caring for older adults.

This report, published jointly by Milbank Memorial Fund and the John A. Hartford Foundation, draws attention to the innovative work of five states Washington, Hawaii, Maine, Minnesota, and Tennessee — to support family caregivers. It explores how the activities in these states may be adapted and replicated to inform other state and national policies. Recommendations include:

  • Take time to test new approaches and find value in sustained incrementalism;
  • Assess caregivers’ experience;
  • Increase awareness and visibility of caregivers;
  • Harness the potential of the aging network; and
  • Support cross-sector integration at the local level, while recognizing challenges.
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Population Addressed
Adults Under 65 with Disabilities
People with Advanced Illness
Frail Older Adults
Key Questions Answered
  • How are leading states promoting community-based innovations to support aging adults with disabilities and family members involved in their care? 
  • How can states pursue more effective policies and programs to support family caregivers?
Level of Evidence
Expert Opinion
What does this mean?