It's Jenn from the AARP Illinois communications team. November is National Caregivers month so we'll be sharing a lot of information, resources, and stories over the next few weeks. To kick things off I figured I'd put "all the resources" in one spot which is why I created the "Thinglink Image" above. If you hover over each of the hearts you'll be taken to a different AARP site on the interwebs. That's me and my Grandpa in the photo. He just turned 89 last month. I'm his power of financial attorney and healthcare advocate extraordinaire.
Today AARP released a poll* that you might find interesting. Almost three out of ten people who are caring for a loved one say their life has changed since becoming a caregiver. More than one in five says their weight, exercise, or social life has suffered. Yep I can definitely identify with some of those things. Who's tired? Me! Me!
Let's talk about Illinois... 2.4 million individuals provide care to others at any time during the year, according to “Valuing the Invaluable” – a 2011 report from AARP that looks at the growing costs and contributions of family caregivers. According to the report, the total value of caregiving in Illinois exceeded $18 billion in 2009, the last year for which state-by-state data is available.
"Family, friends and neighbors who support a loved one rarely see themselves as a caregiver,” said Debra Whitman, AARP Executive Vice President for Policy, Strategy and International Affairs. “And they almost never ask for help. But at some point in their lives most people will be a caregiver or need support. Our campaign is here to remind caregivers that they aren’t alone and there is help.”
As an extension of the PSA campaign, the ‘Thanks Project’ also launches today. This digital experience allows family and friends to acknowledge the incredibly important work of caregivers in their lives. Through messages of tribute, thanks and support on the microsite thanksproject.org or social media using #thanksproject, grateful friends and family can share their appreciation. Check it out.
*The Caregivers: Life Changes and Coping Strategies poll was commissioned by AARP. Research was conducted through an on-line survey nationwide from in May through June 2013 using GfK Custom Research (Knowledge Networks Knowledge Panel). The sample consisted of 1,036 adults between the ages of 40 and 60 years of age who care for someone age 50+.