According the Public Policy Institute of California there are more than 5.5 million Californians who are over 65 years old, a number that is expected to double in the next 12 years. It is projected that in a little over ten years over one million seniors will require some assistance with self-care. In an effort to provide California’s growing senior population an independent and caring environment, Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D- San Bernardino) introduced Assembly Bill 568 which establishes the California Care Corps Act that will incentivize high school graduates and college students to spend one to two years providing care for senior citizens in their community.
“Since arriving in the Legislature I have strongly advocated for increased protection and services for our senior communities.” Assemblymember Reyes continued, “California is the 5th largest economy in the world and a beacon of hope for so many because of the contribution and efforts of our growing senior population. We owe a debt to our seniors to make sure that they receive the care they need in a dignified and supportive environment. I am excited about the opportunity to build bridges between our young people and our seniors while at the same time ensuring that California is ready to meet the needs of this population. ”
AB 568 will establish and reaffirm care for middle and low income families and assist with developing a workforce of future caregivers to meet the state’s growing needs for senior care.
The Family Caregiver Alliance estimates 4.4 million unpaid family caregivers in California, with approximately 1 in four being a millennial. This number of unpaid caregivers, particularly youth who are unpaid caregivers, is alarming as it means these same individuals are unable to finish their education or join the workforce. Nationwide, about 15.7 million adult family caregivers care for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.
The value of services provided by informal caregivers has steadily increased over the last decade, with an estimated economic value of $470 billion in 2013, up from $450 billion in 2009 and $375 billion in 2007. [AARP Public Policy Institute. (2015). Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update.]