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Caring for the Caregiver

More than 42 million Americans – the majority of whom are women – provide some level of consistent care for an older or impaired adult.

If you’ve ever cared for someone who is ill on a long-term basis, you know how fatiguing and frustrating it can be. The stress is especially challenging for baby boomers striving to care for aging parents while working, raising children and hoping to carve out a moment now and then for themselves.

It’s no wonder that constant caregiving puts the caregiver’s own health at risk.

More than 42 million Americans provide several hours of care per week; from handling bills and driving Mom to appointments to providing hands-on services such as bathing and toileting assistance.

The caregiving burden – even when freely and lovingly given – takes its toll in terms of time, stress, finances and health. To help combat this growing challenge, AARP has launched a campaign to raise awareness of family caregivers and direct them toward helpful resources.

Ad copy created by AARP and the Ad Council sums it up: “I take care of her, but who takes care of me?”

AARP has established a one-stop website at aarp.org/caregiving that is a good starting point for resources. The site features web chats with caregiving experts, online support groups and links to relevant programs and services such as respite services.

People in North County also have a resource close to home: Hospice of the North Coast. HNC offers information on advanced care directives to a Pathways program for people facing a chronic or life-limiting illness, to a hospice team of professionals, including respite volunteers. 

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