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Supporting the Caregiving Role

Pamela K. Matura, Executive Director, Area Agency on Aging District 7-
Family caregivers are the foundation of America’s long-term care system and represent all walks of life. Each day, caregivers assist relatives and loved ones with tasks ranging from supportive services such as help with household chores like cooking and cleaning; to complex care measures such as bathing, dressing, moving around the home, administering medications, and monitoring side effects.  

National research has shown that caregivers are everywhere and their numbers are growing. For example, 66 percent of older persons with chronic disabilities are cared for by a family member, 65 million people provide care to an aged family member or friend each year, and 471,000 grandparents over the age of 65 have primary responsibility for their grandchildren. 

Each year in November, National Family Caregivers Month is observed to draw attention to the many challenges family caregivers face. Did you know that the Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc. (AAA7) provides a Family Caregiver Support Program? 2010 marks the tenth anniversary of the National Family Caregiver Support Program, which was created by an amendment to the Older Americans Act. The AAA7 can offer support to family caregivers through this program, including information and referral services, counseling and caregiver training, and respite care that provides a short break when needed.  

While there are emotional and social benefits to being a family caregiver, research shows that caregiving can place a great emotional, physical, and financial strain on caregivers and their families. According to the Administration on Aging, the National Family Caregiver Support Program is having a positive impact on the lives of caregivers. More than 81 percent of caregivers interviewed in a recent national survey reported that the program enabled them to care for their loved ones longer at home and avoid more costly and restrictive placement in residential care facilities, while 75 percent shared that the program helped reduce their stress. 

So this November, reach out to a family caregiver you know, whether a neighbor, relative, co-worker or friend, and offer them a helping hand. This could include cooking a meal or giving them a small break by sitting with their loved one. Just a little bit of help from you could make a big difference to them. If you are a family caregiver, reach out to the Family Caregiver Support Program at the AAA7 by calling 1-800-582-7277.  

The AAA7 provides services to ten counties in Ohio including Adams, Brown, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton. Our services make it possible for older adults and those with disabilities to live safely and independently in their own homes. Call us today to learn more about these programs and how we can help.
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