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CT Family Caregivers Provide $5.8 Billion in Help to Relatives

PHOTO: Nearly 700,000 Connecticut residents provide care for family members. Courtesy of AARP.
PHOTO: Nearly 700,000 Connecticut residents provide care for family members. Courtesy of AARP.
November 14, 2012

HARTFORD, Conn. - It's National Family Caregivers Month, and advocates say the upcoming holidays are an ideal time to check in on older relatives to see if they need a little extra help.

Nationwide, about one in four adults provides unpaid care for a family member, and Jennifer Millea, associate state director of communications for AARP Connecticut, says local families are following that trend.

"Most of the time, it's an older adult child caring for their aging parent. Here in Connecticut, more than 700,000 residents are providing unpaid care for a loved one at any point during the year."

Local caregivers' efforts are estimated to be worth nearly $6 billion a year, Millea says, because they allow family members to continue to live at home rather than in more expensive settings such as hospitals and nursing homes.

As folks age, it can become more difficult to deal with everyday tasks such as getting up and down stairs, keeping track of medications and just paying the bills. Millea says the holidays are an excellent time to be observant and ask aging family members how they're doing.

"Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and people are going to be, maybe, visiting relatives, elderly relatives that they haven't seen in a while. It's a great time to just be able to assess how they are doing, and determine whether they may need some extra help."

If you think an older relative could use assistance but is uncomfortable talking about it, Millea suggests talking with a trusted relative, friend or even a doctor who may be able to help. Find out more about what to look for and how to start the conversation, on the AARP website’s Caregiving Resource Center, aarp.org/caregiving.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT