CHEYENNE – In Wyoming approximately 74,000 family caregivers provided an estimated 62 million hours of care – worth a staggering $980 million – to their parents, spouses, partners and friends in 2017, according to state data available in the latest report of AARP’s Valuing the Invaluable series.

The complexity of family caregiving increases as medical and nursing tasks continue to enter the home, and family demographics change amid an aging population.

AARP is fighting to support family caregivers and the older family and friends who count on them. In 2018, AARP Wyoming helped to increase state funding on home and community based services, which help residents age in the home. As a result of AARP Wyoming’s efforts in 2019, Wyoming’s Legislature increased funding for the Wyoming Home Services Program by $225,000 and Wyoming Senior Centers another $225,000.

In 2020, AARP will continue to fight for commonsense solutions to give family caregivers more support, help at home, training and more. Those solutions include:

Home and community based care: Protecting against significant decreases in the number of older adults who have access to state-funded services at home, like home care and adult day care.

Direct support to caregivers: Leading the discussion on self-direction of home services to allow friends and family acting as caregivers to receive payments for delivering services such as transportation and light chores. Previously, only home health agencies were eligible for these payments.

Telehealth: Conducting a state-specific inventory of telehealth availability and roadblocks in Wyoming. AARP is working to increase access to high speed internet, and educate Wyomingites on how to use technology to manage their own or their loved one’s health. The report will be released this winter.

The full Valuing the Invaluable report will be available Nov. 14 and will include national figures, trends in family caregiving and policy recommendations. To review state figures and the methodology, visit www.aarp.org/valuing.

Resources and information on family caregiving, including AARP’s Prepare to Care Guides, are available at www.aarp.org/caregiving.

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