More than 460,000 Oregonians provide care for loved ones each year that is unpaid and often goes unrewarded. AARP Oregon is launching a series of community forums and listening sessions to better understand the needs of caregiving -- especially in terms of needing a break from this demanding labor of love.
"Caring for a loved one is something that many people find rewarding, as it can bring people closer together. But unfortunately it can also be very physically, emotionally, and mentally stressful," said Jon Bartholomew, AARP Government Relations Director. In 2015, there was an estimated $110 million in higher health care costs for caregivers in Oregon due to the fact that they are caregivers of someone with Alzheimer's/dementia. And this population is less than half of all the family caregivers in Oregon, so the overall numbers are much higher.
One thing that helps is caregiver training. It is available in person and online for free in Oregon through Oregon Care Partners. But in addition to learning new skills, caregivers also need short breaks (respite care) from caregiving so they can take care of themselves.
"Caregivers need to spend some time alone or with friends, go out to a movie or see a game -- something that allows them to be themselves," Bartholomew said.
Getting respite from caregiving can be difficult. Typical paid respite care includes:
Paying for a home care worker to provide care at the home
Adult Day Care
Transportation to and from medical appointments
Time off on the weekend.
"We want to hear from caregivers about what can we do in Oregon to improve access to and effective use of caregiver respite. There are multiple answers. What is important to people in Portland could be different than what is needed in Burns," Bartholomew said.
For those who can't attend, or people who live outside of the forum communities, written feedback can be offered athttps://act.aarp.org/iheartcaregivers/ .
Details and links to register for the forums are listed are below. Or RSVP for any of these events by calling toll free 1-877-926-8300
Albany -- June7th https://aarp.cvent.com/RespiteAlbany060716
Roseburg -- June 8th https://aarp.cvent.com/RespiteRoseburg060816
Lincoln City -- June 9th https://aarp.cvent.com/RespiteLincoln060916
Eugene -- June 14th https://aarp.cvent.com/RespiteEugene061416
Medford -- June 15th https://aarp.cvent.com/RespiteMedford061516
Salem -- June 16th https://aarp.cvent.com/RespiteSalem061616
Beaverton -- June 21st https://aarp.cvent.com/RespiteBeaverton062116
Portland -- June 28th https://aarp.cvent.com/RespitePortland062816
Astoria -- June 29th https://aarp.cvent.com/RespiteAstoria062916
Bend -- July 12th https://aarp.cvent.com/RespiteBend071216
Burns -- July 13th https://aarp.cvent.com/RespiteBurns071316
La Grande -- July 14 AM https://aarp.cvent.com/RespiteLaGrande071416
Pendleton -- July 14th PM
Hood River -- July 27
All times are 4:00 to 6:00 pm
except Lincoln City, which starts at 4:30 pm and La Grande from 9:00 to 11:00 am
Additional Oregon resources for caregivers and their families can be found at https://adrcoforegon.org/consite/explore-caregiver-supports.php
How good is Oregon at supporting caregivers? See a "scorecard" by AARP on the long-term care and support system http://states.aarp.org/new-scorecard-again-ranks-oregon-near-the-top-in-serving-older-disabled-residents/
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into 'Real Possibilities' by changing the way America defines aging. With staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security and personal fulfillment. AARP also advocates for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world's largest circulation magazine, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. To learn more, visitwww.aarp.org/or or follow us on Twitter @aarpor