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Caregivers in Idaho: "Overwhelmed"

A majority of Idaho's 200,000 caregivers feel overwhelmed. Credit: gaertringer/pixabay.com.
A majority of Idaho's 200,000 caregivers feel overwhelmed. Credit: gaertringer/pixabay.com.
August 31, 2015

BOISE, Idaho - They log more than 180 million hours a year, and they're feeling overwhelmed. That describes the 200,000 Idahoans who act as caregivers for spouses or other adult relatives who need help at home because of age or disabilities.

The numbers are in a report from AARP that also delves into the biggest stresses for those caregivers and while finances can be slim, the sheer number of regular tasks are the heaviest load. AARP state president Tom Trail...

"One of the major problems is caregiver burnout," he says. "Some of the folks you talk to that have to take care of relatives or friends with advanced Alzheimer's, that is a tremendous challenge."

Caregiving tasks include transportation, shopping, bathing, dressing, housekeeping, administering medications and handling paperwork.

Trail says the state isn't overlooking the importance of family caregivers. A task force has been meeting to identify policies and resources to help uncompensated caregivers.

"Everyone recognized that the family caregiver is extremely important to all parts of the health infrastructure," he says.

The task force report will be presented to the Legislature next year. In the meantime, there is a resource for emergency respite care for those who need an immediate break no matter their ability to pay. Go to IdahoFederation.org to apply.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID