On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

I’ve done several posts about how to know if you’re a caregiver. Several are humorous top ten lists (here and here), and one is a video by Jeff Foxworthy. Today’s post is on the more serious side.

Last week I received an e-mail from Sacha Evans of The Advertising Council. The Council is involved in a Caregiver Assistance campaign with AARP. Here’s an excerpt from her e-mail explaining why such a campaign is needed:

Across the country 42 million people, primarily women, between the ages 40 – 60 are faced with the challenge of providing care to their older family members and friends each and every day. New research from AARP suggests that caregiving can take a tremendous toll on the caregiver’s personal health and overall wellbeing. And yet, many caregivers do not self-identify as such and can be reluctant to ask for help.

It might sound strange that a person wouldn’t recognize his or her role, but I saw this many times when I was involved with a caregiver support group. There is an element of denial involved, not wanting to accept that a loved one needs care. There is also some confusion as to what defines a caregiver. Sometimes we think a caregiver is someone who is spoon feeding a loved one or providing more personal care, but this is not the case.

For years, my husband David has handled his mother’s finances. He has access to all her accounts, he balances her statements, sets up and monitors transfers and automatic payments, and offers advice on investments. When asked, he says he’s not a caregiver, but I disagree, and so do those who developed the Caregiver Assistance campaign.

If a caregiver does not self- identify, she may not be aware of and take advantage of all the resources available to assist her in this most difficult task. The Ad Council has developed a short quiz to help caregivers recognize themselves. Are you a caregiver? Click the link and find out.




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