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  2008 Press Releases  

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 26, 2008

Department on Aging Thanks Caregivers during National Family Caregiver Month
Promotes Caregiver Resource Centers

SPRINGFIELD – In Illinois and throughout the nation, the aging population is creating an increased need for caregivers who provide homecare services. In recognition of these special caregivers, Illinois Department on Aging Director Charles D. Johnson thanks them for making an extra effort to help family members.

"As we wrap up National Family Caregivers Month, I want to acknowledge all the selfless acts of caregivers across Illinois. Caregiving is fundamental to families because the assistance of caregivers can define the quality of life for families. This month is a good time to educate family caregivers about available resources," said Director Johnson.

The Illinois Department on Aging has set up more then 100 Caregiver Resource Centers across the state. Through partnering with the 13 Area Agencies on Aging and local service providers, family caregivers receive information, assistance, training, counseling and respite care through the Family Caregiver Support Program.

Family caregivers serve as a critical component in providing the long term care for older adults. Caregivers may need to help their loved ones with a broad range of activities, such as bathing, dressing, cooking and eating. In addition, caregivers may have to assist with legal and financial matters, such as making medical decisions, paying bills, handling investments and budgeting accounts.

In addition to recognizing November as National Family Caregivers Month, Director Johnson also notes this is the beginning of the holiday season. The holidays may provide more opportunities for adult children to spend time with their aging parents or other older relatives. The Department is encouraging adult children to look for signs that could indicate that their older relative might need assistance. Some of these signs include:

  • Decreased mobility, forgetfulness
  • Neglected personal hygiene
  • Change in appetite
  • Unfilled and/or unopened medical prescriptions
  • Lack of home maintenance
  • Unusual display of unopened mail

They may also notice that their loved one seems to be mishandling their finances, for example not paying their bills or losing money.

There is a great need for Caregiver Resource Centers due to the large percentage of family caregivers providing care, oftentimes while trying to work full-time and raise their own families. A study by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) indicated more than 50 percent of the baby boomer generation currently cares for children, parents, or both.

"With more than 78 million baby boomers, almost everyone knows of someone who is trying to care for an aging parent, spouse or other loved one," Johnson said. "We need to do what we can to help these caregivers because by demonstrating their love and commitment, caregivers are prone to experiencing burnout, stress and depression."

For more information about program services to assist older adults in Illinois and their caregivers, contact the Department on Aging Senior HelpLine.

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