There are more than 42 million volunteer caregivers in the United States, according to the AARP, “providing an estimated $450 billion worth of unpaid care to adult and aging relatives and friends.”
But many of them don’t even know it…
Caregiving is a major commitment and can be complex and highly stressful work. However, because many family caregivers think they are just doing their duty as a daughter or son, a wife or husband or a friend helping out someone they love, they do not identify themselves as caregivers and as a result, feel isolated and do not recognize there are resources to help them.
A national survey by the AARP finds about two-thirds of caregivers spend an average of at least nine hours a week providing care to someone over 50, and about one-third describe it as very difficult. A similar percentage admits to feeling isolated, and one in five “do not feel like they have the support they need when it comes to caring for a family member or friend.”
That’s why AARP is rolling out a public service announcement campaign to promote awareness and offer tools to caregivers. Visit www.aarp.org/caregiving to ask questions of experts, locate local home health or assisted living facilities, find legal and financial advice, and join a community of caregivers in similar situations. While there is an ad asking visitors to join AARP, it looks like all this is available for free.