More than 800,000 Arizonans are caregivers for an older relative; and senior groups are pushing state legislators for passage of a bill to give them a tax credit.
House Bill 2087 would give people who spend at least $2,000 on aids such as adding a ramp to the home – a credit of up to $1,000 on their income-tax return.
Statistics show the average caregiver spends almost $7,000 a year of his or her own money.
Stephen Jennings, associate state director for advocacy at AARP Arizona, says the state would ultimately save money with this bill because it would help lighten caregivers’ load and reduce burnout.
“The longer they can help older relatives stay in their own homes where they want to be, and keep them out of expensive tax-supported institutions, everybody wins,” he explains.
Jennings says caregiving can be so stressful that it isn’t uncommon for a caregiver to die before the person being cared for. He adds that Arizona families give almost 750 million hours of care each year. Assuming their work is worth at least $11.50 an hour, that means they’re providing $9.4 billion of free care each year.
Jennings says AARP also is supporting a bill to add people of any age with developmental disabilities to the system that puts missing people’s names on electronic signs over the freeway. He notes right now, the system is only used for abducted children, called Amber Alerts, and missing seniors, called Silver Alerts.
“Between those two age ranges, if they were developmentally disabled, the police would be authorized to use the Silver Alert system to have the public help find them,” he says.
AARP Arizona is also adding its support to a bill that would ask the government to stop charging sales tax on incontinence-related items, such as adult diapers, as well as on feminine-hygiene products.
by Suzanne Potter
Public News Service – AZ
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