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CT Caregiver Month: Billions in Value & Stressful Tasks

June 16, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. – Gov. Dannel Malloy declared June as Caregiver Month in Connecticut.

Experts say local caregivers provide billions of dollars in free services and they need to take steps to avoid burnout.

AARP family and caregiving expert Amy Goyer says the typical caregiver in Connecticut is a married woman in her 50s, but she says it is amazing how people of all age groups step up when a family member, friend and sometimes even just a neighbor need care.

"Pretty much everyone, because either you've been a caregiver, you are a caregiver or you are going to be a caregiver,” she says. “And certainly you may be a recipient of care.

“And really, people who are caregiving need a lot of support. "

AARP Connecticut will be holding listening sessions throughout the state to learn more about the needs of caregivers.

There is also support and training information available on the AARP website.

Goyer says caregivers can't help somebody else if they spend so much time caring for others that they let themselves burn out, which happens because it can be very demanding.

"Physically stressful and emotionally and mentally stressful,” she points out. “So, I really encourage caregivers to reach out and get some help.

“It's the number one thing we need to do, and often the last thing we do. "

Goyer says AARP’s research shows by assisting with daily living, managing medications and helping family, friends and neighbors with vital tasks, local caregivers provide help that would normally cost billions of dollars.

"In Connecticut, it's estimated that the value is $5.8 billion annually,” she says. “That's a huge contribution that family members and friends are making without pay and that's how much it would cost if we were paying people to provide that care. "

The 2014 Connecticut Caregiver Survey finds just under half of caregivers are also working a full time job and 84 percent say they favor protections that would prohibit firing due to caregiving.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT