Tennessee Capitol Spring 2013In 2009, Debbie Lincoln moved from her home in Arkansas, leaving a grandchild, a beau and other loved ones behind to take care of her  mom in Dandridge, Tenn. Most days, she barely has time for a cup of coffee and a peek at Facebook because she is running up and down the stairs. It’s a labor of love, but it’s exhausting and Debbie sometimes feels very alone.

So it was a revelation to learn that she’s part of a very large crowd. An estimated 1.65 million people in Tennessee are providing care to adult relatives or friends, for more than 1 billion hours a year at an estimated value of $11 billion each year!

She wishes there were more support groups and volunteer helpers, especially in her rural area of East Tennessee. AARP is hoping to find ways to connect caregivers like Debbie with those kinds of resources and others. That’s why we will be hosting events – including virtual ones for folks who cannot leave their loved ones alone – this summer and fall. The first is a caregiving chat with AARP caregiving expert Amy Goyer from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. CDT on June 18. Stay tuned for details on that events and future plans.

Are you in the same situation as Debbie – caring for a loved one and wondering where to turn for help? Please complete this short survey so that we can get a better idea of what you need and want – and find ways to better connect you to one another and to the services that are available.

Meantime, please visit AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center and let us know if it is helpful. You can contact us at tnaarp@aarp.org or provide your answers in the survey: http://bit.ly/151XRZ6.

Also, please help us thank Sen. Doug Overbey and Rep. Bob Ramsey. These Maryville Republicans sponsored a resolution that was approved unanimously by the Legislature this year to draw attention to the huge impact that caregivers are having on our state and the need to support them.

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