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AARP Honors Inslee, State Lawmakers for Support of Caregivers

Two Washington state lawmakers, Sen. Barbara Bailey and Rep. Steve Tharinger, have been recognized for their work supporting caregivers. (AARP)
Two Washington state lawmakers, Sen. Barbara Bailey and Rep. Steve Tharinger, have been recognized for their work supporting caregivers. (AARP)
January 23, 2017

OLYMPIA, Wash. – AARP is recognizing three Washington state leaders as advocates in the halls of Olympia for caregivers.

Gov. Jay Inslee, state Rep. Steve Tharinger, and state Sen. Barbara Bailey were recognized as Capitol Caregivers, who champion policies for both family and professional caregivers.

Bailey is being honored for her 2016 work on the CARE Act, which ensures that medical facilities provide instructions to caregivers when a person is discharged. Bailey says she learned the importance of this legislation while taking care of her mother.

"Sending someone home from an emergency room or a doctor's appointment or whatever it might be, those caregivers – whether it's a family member or someone that's being paid to do that – need to have the instructions on how to care for that individual that they are entrusted with caring for," she states.

More than 800,000 Washingtonians are caring for a parent or loved one so he or she can live independently. Bailey also notes such caregivers provide services valued at $10 billion annually.

Cathy MacCaul, advocacy director for AARP Washington, says these lawmakers are supporting a service that at times can overwhelm a person's life.

"They are the unsung heroes in our society,” she stresses. “Sometimes, they put aside their own jobs or their own family responsibilities, oftentimes, to take care of a loved one."

Bailey says her advocacy on behalf of caregivers isn't over. This year, she hopes the Legislature increases its investment in respite services, so more caregivers can get time off when they need it.

"Everybody needs a break from that 24/7 responsibility,” she points out. “And so, respite care, in my opinion, is extremely important, and this state does try to provide respite care, and we want to make sure that continues."


Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA