In partnership with the Black Women’s Health Alliance (BWHA), AARP Pennsylvania hosted "Caregiver: The Importance of You," an afternoon tea held on October, 11, at the AME First District Plaza.
The caregiving role that many Black women step into can be stressful – for their families and, particularly, for themselves. Nationally, about one in four adults care for an older relative or friend — typically 50+ with chronic conditions or disabilities. Sixty-five percent of caregivers are women, and about fifty-three percent of African Americans are family caregivers.
“More than 1.3 million Pennsylvanians are caring for family members, loved ones, or members of their community,” said Angela Foreshaw-Rouse, AARP Pennsylvania State Manager Operations & Community Outreach. “Our participants were able to freely discuss how to prioritize themselves without the guilt, share their stories, and get invaluable information from AARP and other caregivers on caring for older loved ones.”
The tea was an opportunity for AARP Pennsylvania to educate caregivers and community leaders on the importance of caregivers nurturing and caring from themselves and making self-care their #1 priority. AARP Pennsylvania also distributed a survey, the results of which will provide insights for policy makers about how Pennsylvania can better support family caregivers and ensure that their loved ones have opportunities to remain independent in their homes and communities.
Featured panelists, including Patty Jackson, WDAS I-Heart Radio/WDAS-FM, Rev. Lorina Marshall-Blake, Independence Blue Cross, and fitness instructor Kim Garrison, sparked a lively discussion on the importance of cherishing the mind, body and spirit as a caregiver. The panel also included expert advice from Dr. Angelle Richardson, gynecology/obstetrics; Dr. Kim Whitt, psychiatry; and Dr. Patricia Jones, psychology, who provided tips in healthy self-care. Philadelphia City Councilwoman at-Large Blondell Reynolds Brown moderated the discussion.
“Caregiving is near and dear to my heart and home,” remarked Councilwoman Brown. “As women of color, we so often place ourselves at the bottom of our lengthy ‘to-do’ lists. It’s imperative that we shift our thinking and behavior, and take the time to care for ourselves so that we can be our best for our loved ones.”
AARP offers tips for caregivers on nurturing themselves. Among them are:
• Eating well-balanced meals
• Exercising every day
• Taking time for yourself
• Asking for help
For more information visit http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/