Caring for an elderly or ill relative is not an easy task and can sometimes take a considerable toll on the caregiver’s physical and emotional health. With this in mind, Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital (RPMH) and the Area Agency on Aging are joining together to provide the community with a special program on Feb. 8. Valuable information will be shared during this free event on resources and supports available for caregivers.
“Stress and major depression can sometimes be just some of the side effects caregivers endure as a result of their compassion and commitment to loved ones,” said Kristie Young, an RPMH team member who has organized the event. “As we learn more about caregivers in our community, we want to be sure we support their initiative with critical information and make them aware of the resources available to them.”
According to a new report from AARP Public Policy Institute, one in four adult Americans serve as caregivers to an elderly relative, spouse, or friend. This translates into roughly 65 million people across the country that provides care for chronically ill, disabled, or aged individuals.
Keeping in line with previous studies, the typical caregiver is profiled as women (by 65 percent), 49 years of age who works outside the home.
While juggling work-life responsibilities, the report finds that caregivers also spend nearly 20 hours a week providing essential care for loved ones. This time is spent completing a variety of tasks including transportation, administering medications, and providing meals.
With everyday tasks and caregiving, it is not surprising that all of the responsibility can put a strain on the giver’s health. According to an online survey, 69 percent of caregivers responding said caring for a loved one was their No. 1 source of stress. In addition, 25 to 50 percent of caregivers meet the criteria for major depression.
“Up to 35 percent of caregivers perceive their health to fair-to-poor, higher than non-caregivers report. Too often, this perception holds true,” Young said. “That is why programs like our upcoming Caregiver Meeting is important for our community to attend.”
Caregivers commit themselves for an average of 4.5 years of service. For some, that length of time can have a long-lasting impact on their health.
As a result, the Caregiver Meeting will also address the topic of avoiding burnout. A few essential guidelines can go a long way, including learning as much as possible about your loved one’s condition(s), knowing your personal limits, and learning how to accept help from others when offered.
The Caregiver Meeting will be held on Feb. 8, 2012 from 3-4 p.m. at the RPMH Emergency Department Classroom. Caregiver Specialist Kay Collins from the Area Agency on Aging will be the guest speaker, providing critical information on the topic. The event is free of charge and requires no prior registration.
For more information on the Caregiver Meeting or for additional resources on the topic, please contact Kristie Young at 325-235-1701 ext. 368.
About Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital
Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital provides healthcare for those in the communities they serve. Founded in 1976, Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital offers a wealth of medical services including: 24 hour emergency care, advanced radiology services including CT scanning and MRIs, outpatient lab, physical therapy, surgical services, swing bed services, patient education, home health and assistive services, and more. For additional information, please visit www.rpmh.net .