More than 524,000 Oklahomans care for older parents, spouses and other loved ones so they can live independently in their homes and communities. These unpaid family caregivers provide 488 million hours of care valued at a staggering six billion dollars annually, according to AARP Oklahoma, the nonprofit and nonpartisan advocacy organization for Americans 50 and older.
These findings highlight the profound role of family caregivers who are recognized officially during National Family Caregivers Month in November. “Family caregivers’ labor of love may involve days and nights assisting in a wide array of tasks,” said Sean Voskuhl, AARP Oklahoma state director. “From bathing and dressing to preparing meals and administering medicines, these unpaid family caregivers are providing invaluable care to older parents, spouses, adult children with disabilities or other loved ones so they can remain in their homes and communities—where they want to be.”
AARP Oklahoma is fighting for what Voskuhl calls “commonsense solutions to help make family caregivers’ big responsibilities a little easier.”
AARP Oklahoma will continue to urge legislators to improve access to quality care across Oklahoma so family caregivers can obtain the care they want and deserve. One opportunity is to expand access to care by updating our antiquated nurse practitioner laws. “Oklahoma’s outdated laws deny residents’ access to trained health care providers in their communities because nurse practitioners are restricted from doing their jobs to the full extent of their education and training,” said Chad Mullen, AARP Oklahoma associate state director of advocacy. In 2019, AARP Oklahoma will also urge lawmakers to expand access to home and community-based services, allowing older Oklahomans to live independently in their own homes while receiving the care they need. “Most Oklahomans prefer to receive care in their own home. Supporting home and community-based services and making sure all Oklahoman’s know their options can lead to big improvements in quality of care.”
Voskuhl said that while caregivers share positive experiences, they also encounter many emotional, financial and physical challenges. Free AARP Oklahoma Caregiver Resource Kits are available to all Oklahomans. The AARP Oklahoma Caregiver Resource Kits include;
- Prepare to Care: A Resource Guide for Families-developed to help make the role of family caregiving more manageable
- Medicare Guide- provides a framework of how Medicare works and how caregivers and those in their care can make informed health coverage decisions.
- HomeFit- created to help people stay in the homes they love by turning where they live into a “lifelong home,” suitable for themselves and anyone in their household.
- Oklahoma and Northeastern Caregiver Resource Guides- help you find the services and supports you need throughout your caregiving journey.
To receive a free Caregiver Resource Kit, call 1-866-295-7277 or email email@example.com. For more information about how AARP is fighting for family caregivers in Oklahoma, visit aarp.org/freefamilycaregivingresources.