November is National Family Caregiver Month, and AARP Mississippi will highlight the need to support caregivers and those for whom they care.
More than 800,000 Mississippians perform a great labor love: caring for an aging parent or loved one. These family caregivers provide an invaluable resource, helping seniors stay at home – where they want to be. That’s why AARP is committed to supporting caregivers and their loved ones.
Mississippi ranks 49th overall when it comes to meeting the long-term care needs of older residents, and AARP believes much more must be done, at an accelerated pace, to improve across-the-board – but especially when it comes to five key dimensions. This, according to a new, comprehensive state-by-state Scorecard from AARP with support of the nation’s leading organizations behind quality long-term care, The Commonwealth Fund and SCAN Foundation.
Nationally, AARP has launched www.aarp.org/iheartcaregivers to collect personal stories of caregivers.
“Raising Expectations 2014: A State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers” – an update of the inaugural 2011 Scorecard – ranks each state overall and within 26 performance indicators along five key dimensions: affordability and access (49); choice of setting and provider (48); quality of life and quality of care (42); support for family caregivers (28); and, effective transitions (50). New indicators this year include length of stay in nursing homes and use of anti-psychotic drugs by nursing homes, raising serious concerns about the quality of institutional care.
Today, unpaid family caregivers provide the bulk of care for older Mississippians, in part because the cost of long-term care remains unaffordable for most middle income families. In Mississippi, more than 800,000 residents at any time of the year help their aging parents, spouses and other loved ones stay at home by providing assistance with bathing and dressing, transportation, finances, complex medical tasks like wound care and injections, and more. The value of this unpaid care totals about $5,200,000.
According to the state Scorecard, many family caregivers face a degree of stress and worry. Mississippi has an opportunity to take action to improve legal and systems supports for caregivers.
That’s why AARP Mississippi successfully fought for passage of the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act making it easier for caregivers to assist loved ones across state lines. AARP Mississippi also successfully worked with legislators to pass a Caregiving Resolution to establish an Ad Hoc Committee to Study Issues Relating to Family Caregivers and Long-Term Care Services.
AARP Mississippi Caregiver Month Activities
- Television spots highlighting how to join AARP Mississippi’s Caregiving Circles will appear in Jackson (WLBT), Biloxi (WLOX), Tupelo (WTVA), and Greenville (WABG).
- A Caregiver luncheon will be held on Nov. 18, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Bancorp South Conference Center, 375 East Main Street in Tupelo. Call 1-877-926-8300 by Nov. 10 to RSVP.
- Hancock County Caregiving Connections Support Group will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014 at Starfish Café, 211 Main Street in Bay St. Louis. Refreshments will be provided. Call 601-927-3069 to RSVP.
- Jackson County Caregiving Connections Support Group will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 at We Care Hospice, 3725 Main Street in Moss Point. A light dinner will be provided. Call 601-927-3069 to RSVP.
- Virtual Caregivers’ Connections Circle will take place at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014. To participate, call 1-857-232-0156. The code is 564116#.
Find out about AARP Mississippi’s Caregiving Circles in the Mississippi Nurses Association newsletter, R.I.P.E. Senior Care Resources Guide, WLBT, WLOX, WTVA, WABG and other publications and broadcast media around the state.