November is National Family Caregivers Month.
1.2 million Alabamians care for aging parents and spouses who want to stay at home, instead of costly institutions. These family caregivers provide unpaid services valued at about $7.3 billion annually. Sherry cared for her father-in-law for 21 years. She saysâ€¦
KOLODZIEJCZAK: MY FATHER IN LAW HAD COGNITIVE AND PHYSICAL DISABILITIES FROM DEMENTIA AND A BACK INJURY. HE WAS WHEELCHAIR-BOUND AND WAS DEPENDENT ON HELP FOR DRESSING, BATHING, AND PERSONAL CARE NEEDS. OUR GOAL WAS FOR HIM TO AGE AT HOME, AND THE FAMILY MET AND MADE DECISIONS TO ENSURE HE WAS CARED FOR AT HOME. I WAS HIS PRIMARY CAREGIVER, WITH HELP FROM AN AGENCY. EVERY SACRIFICE - WHETHER GIVING UP A HOBBY OR CHANGING OUR LIFE PLANS - WAS WELL WORTH IT, AND WE TREASURE THE TIME WE WERE ABLE TO GIVE HIM.
This week, A-A-R-P launched I Heart Caregivers to collect stories like Sherryâ€™s. AARP Alabama Interim State Director Candi Williams saysâ€¦
WILLIAMS: OUR SILENT ARMY OF FAMILY CAREGIVERS IN ALABAMA HELPS SENIORS TO LIVE INDEPENDENTLY, WITH DIGNITY, EACH AND EVERY DAY. WE WANT TO HONOR THESE UNSUNG HEROES â€“ WHILE AT THE SAME TIME ADVOCATING TO GET THEM MORE SUPPORT, TRAINING, AND HELP AT HOME.
For more go to A-A-R-P dot org slash I Heart Caregivers.