November is National Family Caregivers Month.
More than 383,000 Utahns 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 $4.2 billion annually. Jill Duke cared for her mother-in-law for six years. She says:
DUKE: MY MOTHER-IN-LAW HAD ALZHEIMERâ€™S. MY HUSBAND AND I MADE A 120 MILE ROUND TRIP TO CARE FOR HER IN HER HOMEâ€”PAYING BILLS, PREPARING MEALS, TRANSPORTING HER TO APPOINTMENTS--UNTIL IT WAS NO LONGER SAFE FOR HER TO BE ALONE. WE VISITED HER EVERY DAY IN HER ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY TO HELP MANAGE HER MEDICATIONS AND PROVIDE COMPANIONSHIP. IT WASNâ€™T EASY, BUT I WOULDNâ€™T HAVE HAD IT ANY OTHER WAY.
This week, A-A-R-P launched I Heart Caregivers to collect stories like Jillâ€™s. AARP Utah State Director Alan Ormsby saysâ€¦
ORMSBY: OUR SILENT ARMY OF FAMILY CAREGIVERS HELPS SENIORS TO LIVE INDEPENDENTLY, WITH DIGNITY, EACH AND EVERY DAY. WE WANT TO HONOR THESE UNSUNG HEROES â€“ WHILE AT THE SAME TIME FIGHT TO GET THEM MORE SUPPORT, TRAINING, HELP AT HOME.
For more go to A-A-R-P dot org slash I Heart Caregivers.