National Family Caregivers Month: Helping the Helpers

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National Family Caregivers Month: Helping the Helpers

November 01, 2021
In the U.S. today, nearly one in five people provides unpaid care to an adult with health or functional needs. This is according to a report from the AARP and the National Alliance on Caregiving. Nearly 90% of these people care for a relative—typically a parent, spouse or partner, grandparent or grown child. About 10% provide care to a friend or neighbor.
 
Caregiver Challenges
Caregiving responsibilities can bring significant physical, emotional, and financial strain. Adding to the stress, the majority of caregivers have commitments outside of their duties, such as full-time jobs and childcare. As a result, AARP/NAC reported family caregivers in 2020 were in worse health than they were five years earlier—a result of putting their own needs behind those they take care of.
 
How to Support Caregivers
Each November, National Family Caregivers Month is a time to raise awareness and give support to the caregivers in our lives. If you have a caregiver in your life, there are countless ways to show your support. However, instead of asking them how you can help (they may be too overwhelmed to think through specific needs), ask them what they’re struggling with most. Then you can help them find solutions from there.
 
Resources
Check the National Alliance for Caregiving’s Resources page for lots of ideas about how to help family caregivers. The site includes links to planning guides, an eldercare locator for resources at the community level, a free web service for coordinating tasks among friends and family, and more. The AARP also offers caregiver resources, including tips and advice in Spanish.
 
You can also research other care options, such as the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE. InnovAge PACE provides full, wrap-around, coordinated healthcare, so that seniors in the program can live either in their own homes or supportive housing as indicated by their care needs. InnovAge also offers respite care to participants and caregivers as part of the program.
 
“InnovAge was amazing for both my mom and me,” says one caregiver. “I recommend it to anyone needing help caring for a parent.”
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