In observance of Caregivers Awareness Month, state reminds families
about resources to assist them
Department on Aging administers the Family Caregiver Support Program
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SPRINGFIELD — Increasing numbers
in the aging population have led to an increased need for
caregivers. The term "caregiver" refers to anyone who provides
assistance to someone else who needs it. Though a caregiver can be
anyone, it is often a family member who steps in to provide extra
support and attention for an elderly loved one.
The typical family caregiver is 49-year-old woman who works outside
the home and for nearly five years will spend an average of 20 hours
per week providing unpaid care to her parent.
Earlier this month,
Gov. Pat Quinn discussed caregiving in Illinois with Pulitzer
Prize-winning journalist Mary Jordan at The Washington Post's
Caregiving in America Forum in Chicago.
Family caregivers help their loved ones with a broad range of
activities, which can be a critical component in providing long-term
care for older adults. Many older adults would have difficulty
remaining in their homes and community without the support of their
relatives and caregivers. But caregivers also need support, or they
risk putting their own health and well-being at risk.
The state, through the Department on Aging, has set up more than
100 Caregiver Resource Centers for family caregivers to receive
support. Through its partnership with the 13 Area Agencies on Aging
and local service providers, the department offers information,
assistance, training, counseling and respite care through the Family
Caregiver Support Program.
"Family caregivers are the backbone of the long-term care system,
whose caregiving role can evolve over time. Often the family
caregiver does not realize how complex their role is until they need
a break. In observance of National Family Caregiver Month, we want
to let them know there is help," said Department on Aging Director
John K. Holton, Ph.D.
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Holton also urges families to pay
extra attention during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday to older
relatives who may not ask for help but may need assistance. Signs
that indicate assistance may be needed:
Change in appetite
unopened medical prescriptions
Lack of home
Unusual display of
A loved one may be mishandling their
finances — for example, not paying their bills or losing money.
For more information about the Illinois Family Caregiver Support
caregivers-main.htm or call the Department on Aging Senior
HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966, or, for hearing-impaired use only, call
Department on Aging file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]