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Laughter - No Joking Matter for Exhausted Family Caregivers in Indiana

Indiana family caregivers can gather, share, learn and laugh at a new event. Credit: The Arches/Flickr
Indiana family caregivers can gather, share, learn and laugh at a new event. Credit: The Arches/Flickr
August 31, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS – A little laughter can go a long way, and family caregivers in Indiana have a new opportunity to ease the stress of their demanding lives.

AARP Indiana is hosting a first-of-its-kind gathering where family caregivers can share, learn and yuck it up together.

There are nearly 840,000 people providing unpaid care for a loved one in Indiana, a job that Sarah Waddle, campaigns director for AARP Indiana, says can be more than trying at times.

"The caregivers get burnout,” she points out. “There is a financial strain because perhaps they have to quit working or cut back their hours so this is designed to give them a little bit of information, to let them know they're not alone and to let them laugh.”

Care giving can be unfamiliar territory, and when you sign up for the Laughing and Learning event you can also help select the topics to be discussed, such as elder law, access to local resources and caring for the caregiver.

The event wraps up with a comedy show in Indianapolis Sept. 10.

Beyond the funny business and helping caregivers gain strength in sharing together, information provided at the event will also include resources on Indiana's new CARE Act, which helps families keep communication lines open with medical staff once a loved one is admitted.

Waddle says AARP has been spreading the word about the law, as well as a new Indiana Care Resource guide.

"We've just heard from participants in our events and when we're out and about that they need more resources and information, whether it's the Area Agency on Aging or the state Medicaid office, these are some state specific informational resources," she states.

She highlights the vital role caregivers serve allowing older Hoosiers to age at home, which she says is much more affordable than nursing home care.

Indiana family caregivers provide about $9.5 billion a year in unpaid care.

Reach Waddle at 317-423-7105. More information and registration:

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN