Giving Thanks in OR During Family Caregivers Month
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
It's National Family Caregivers Month, a time of year to underscore the important work these folks do. Family caregivers provide unpaid aid to the loved ones in their lives but often are unrecognized for the crucial role they play in ensuring people are able to age in place.
Lori Stanton, southern regional manager for the Oregon and Southwest Washington chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, said sometimes the people family members are caring for are not able to say thanks, especially if they have Alzheimer's disease or dementia.
"For the Alzheimer's Association in general, we just want caregivers to know that we see them and we appreciate what it is that they're doing," Stanton said.
Stanton says people who know family caregivers should reach out and see what they can do to help that person. There are about 460,000 family caregivers in Oregon providing $5.7-billion of unpaid care, according to a 2017 estimate.
Doctor Vicki Schmall, head of Aging Concerns in West Linn, an organization that educates and trains family caregivers, said these providers are the backbone of the long-term care system.
Schmall notes that one of the biggest challenges for caregivers is taking care of themselves.
"Their health being intact also has implications for the person that they're providing care to, and if their health and well-being goes downhill, that also has implications for the person that they're giving care to," Schmall said.
At some point, family caregivers might have to decide that a care facility is a more suitable place for someone. On December 2, AARP Oregon is hosting an event on how to find the right long-term care facility, which Schmall will be part of.
"We will be looking at different types of facilities in Oregon and we will also be talking about the importance of advanced planning rather than waiting for a crisis to occur, in terms of seeking long-term care," she said.
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