Have you found yourself in the role of primary caregiver for an older adult? Have you wondered how you got there and what you are supposed to do now?
You are not alone! Thousands of individuals throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area are caring for an older adult family member, friend or neighbor.
It’s no secret: caregiving can take a toll on the caregiver — financially, mentally and physically. According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control:
More than 34 million unpaid caregivers provide care to someone age 18 and older who is ill or has a disability.
An estimated 21 percent of households in the United States are affected by caregiving responsibilities.
The typical caregiver is a 46-year-old woman with some college experience who provides more than 20 hours of care each week to her mother.
About 37 percent of caregivers for someone age 50 and older reduced their work hours or quit their job in 2007.
Caregivers report having difficulty finding time for themselves (35 percent), managing emotional and physical stress (29 percent) and balancing work and family responsibilities (29 percent).
Half of caregivers said their health had gotten worse due to caregiving and the decline in their health has affected their ability to provide care.
Caregivers said they do not go to the doctor because they put their family’s needs first (67 percent said that is a major reason), or they put the care recipient’s needs over their own (57 percent). More than half (51 percent) said they do not have time to take care of themselves and almost half (49 percent) said they are too tired to do so.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/aging/caregiving/facts.htm
Training and support opportunities at MARC
Caregiver training and support programs can provide fresh ideas and new solutions. Attending local conferences, workshops or support groups can help you find other caregivers who might be interested in keeping in touch and sharing resources.
The MARC Department of Aging Services makes caregiver training and support available through two main venues:
Breakfast Club: Working with the Alzheimer’s Association, the MARC Department of Aging Services sponsors the Breakfast Club. This group of caregivers, each caring for a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease, meets on a monthly basis to share knowledge, resources, a few laughs and a healthy breakfast. For more information, contact Clemme Rambo of the Alzheimer’s Association at 816/361-6604.
Those who are providing unpaid care to family member, friends or neighbors may be eligible to participate in the caregiver training and support services if the individual receiving care is over the age of 60. Parents caring for a child who is between the ages of 18-59 and who is disabled may also be eligible.
There is no predetermined cost to participate in these programs. Voluntary contributions are accepted to help defray the costs.