Resources for caregivers
Last year, more than 34 million Americans provided unpaid care to an adult age 50-plus, according to “Caregiving in the U.S. 2015” by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP Public Policy Institute.
The services provided by caregivers account for the largest source of long-term care services in the U.S. and are valued at more than $450 billion per year.
More than half of caregivers for older adults are age 50-plus. Nearly 10% of caregivers are 75-plus. The stress of caregiving can lead them to neglect their own health, which is especially concerning for older caregivers with chronic health conditions.
In November, the observances of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month are aimed at informing families about resources available, and encouraging them to talk to loved ones about future care. Assistance for caregivers
While caregivers tend to be family members, especially spouses or adult children, the role can fall on anyone. "Many times friends, neighbors and domestic partners are serving as caregivers,” said Maria Zyborowicz, service coordinator for the Caregiver Support Program at Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA).
“They are determined to keep their loved ones at home for as long as possible. Many caregivers consider facilities a last resort. They feel their loved ones can get the best care at home, surrounded by family," she said.
PCA’s Caregiver Support Program links caregivers to education and services that facilitate self-care and skill-building and provide much-needed support.
"We see varying degrees of need. Some caregivers need only companion services for light housekeeping or transportation, while others require round-the-clock care for their loved ones,” said Zyborowicz. "The program is unique because we are serving the caregiver, not just the older adult. By giving them resources and support services, they can better care for their loved ones.”