Tulsa, Okla. -- As a part of AARP’s “I Heart Caregivers” initiative to support family caregivers who help make it possible for older Americans and other loved ones to live independently at home, AARP Oklahoma has launched a series of local resources to support family caregivers and those in their care.
The resources and outreach are in response to a March 2017 study conducted by AARP to better understand family caregivers’ needs and their general awareness of resources and services in the community. The study surveyed individuals in Tulsa, Washington, Rogers, Wagoner, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Creek and Osage counties. More than 500 family caregivers providing at least six hours of care per week responded to the survey, which indicated the following key outcomes:
- Less than three in 10 caregivers are aware of the resources or information available to help them in their community
- 56% of respondents are interested in receiving assistance or information
- Only 25% of respondents have sought assistance in their caregiving duties
- 96% of respondents handle instrumental activities of daily living; 57% are performing medical and nursing tasks
- Most caregivers are caring for one person (85%); 15% are caring for two loved ones
- Four in 10 caregivers rated their level of emotional strain as either a 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale
- One-third of caregivers are caring for someone with dementia or another form of cognitive impairment; studies have shown these caregivers to be more strained both emotionally and financially and would likely greatly benefit from assistance
- Two in 10 caregivers are millennials; slightly over half of northeastern Oklahoma caregivers are age 50+
View the full AARP report with outcomes from the northeastern Oklahoma-area family caregiver study Tulsa Family Caregiving Survey 2017 .
“Approximately 524,000 Oklahomans are family caregivers providing 488 million hours of care annually. AARP Oklahoma recognizes caring for a family member or friend is one of the most important roles a person will play,” said Sean Voskuhl, AARP Oklahoma state director. “Family caregivers are essential partners in caring for our 50+ population, and this outreach furthers our commitment to provide family caregivers resources they need to take good care of their loved ones and themselves.”
To assist family caregivers in their roles, AARP Oklahoma has assembled a free collection of family caregiver resources. This collection includes the Oklahoma Caregiver Resource Guide, a starting point to help family caregivers find services and support needed in the caregiving journey. Additionally, the AARP Prepare to Care Guide is available to assist in the creation of a caregiving plan. AARP’s Medicare Guide for Family Members is also available to provide a framework of how Medicare works and how caregivers and those in their care can make informed health coverage decisions. The AARP HomeFit Guide offers important resources 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. The guide offers solutions that range from simple do-it-yourself fixes to improvements that are more involved and require skilled expertise, but are well worth the expense.
Additionally, AARP provides support to family caregivers with information on patient rights related to the CARE (Caregiver Advise, Record Enable) Act , a law passed in 2014 which helps family caregivers when their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home. The CARE Act requires hospitals to record the name of the family caregiver when a loved one is admitted into a hospital; notify the family caregiver if the loved one is to be discharged to another facility or back home; and, consult and prepare the family caregiver on the medical tasks such as medication management, injections, wound care, and transfers performed at home.
All resources are free and available for download HERE or by calling 1-866-295-7277.
As a part of AARP’s national “I Heart Caregivers” initiative, AARP Oklahoma recently hosted “#IHeartCaregivers Week” in June which included a free Father’s Day Concert and Caregivers Hospitality Lounge, a Food Truck event and Movie Night in the Park, all held at Tulsa’s Guthrie Green. During the events, AARP Oklahoma provided a variety of free resources and assistance for family caregivers.
“AARP’s commitment to caregivers through the “I Heart Caregivers” initiative was developed to recognize the silent army of Americans who perform a great labor of love each and every day,” said Voskuhl. “We strongly support family caregiver efforts to help aging parents, spouses and other loved ones to remain at home – where they want to be – as opposed to costly institutions.”
To hear the stories of several local family caregivers, their personal stories about struggles they encountered in trying to navigate the caregiving arena and resources they found helpful, click HERE.
Learn more about AARP Oklahoma at www.aarp.org/ok.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation's largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.