In homes and communities across the United States, millions of Americans quietly care for older parents, spouses and other loved ones, helping them to stay at home as they age.
“Family caregivers help their loved ones with everything from bathing and dressing to preparing meals and administering medication, usually while also working full- or part- time jobs,” said AARP Oregon Government Relations Director Jon Bartholomew. “We want to give a shout out to folks who are caring for loved ones during National Family Caregiving Month this November.”
AARP has taken the cause of family caregivers to the state capitol. Bartholomew noted that Oregon was one of the first states in the country to pass the CARE Act, which requires hospitals to provide family caregivers with some training when a loved one leaves this hospital. During the 2019 legislative session, AARP Oregon will advocate to provide for paid family and medical leave so working caregivers can care for loved ones during a time of need.
“Our goal is to help make family caregivers’ big responsibilities a little bit easier. That’s why we’ll be urging the state legislature to offer paid family leave,” Bartholomew said. “In Oregon, we have 469,000 unpaid family caregivers helping folks to stay out of more expensive facilities in the comfort and familiarity of home.”
AARP has other tips as well – including urging family caregivers to take care of themselves and avoid burnout, especially during the holidays. “As a caregiver, you can ask for help or cut back on a few traditions and still have a memorable holiday,” Bartholomew said. Click here for more holidays tips for caregivers.
Additionally, AARP has a free guide that is downloadable aarp.org/preparetocare. And for Oregon-specific information, check out the Aging & Disability Resource Center, https://www.adrcoforegon.org/
Much more must be done to support family caregivers and their loved ones—and your voices will make the difference as we continue to fight for change. Your stories are powerful—showing your struggle, illustrating your love, and making the case for action. Raise your voice, and share your story today. aarp.org/iheartcaregivers