The Caregiver Program aims to help caregivers while they help those they love
Every November, National Family Caregivers Month (NFCM) provides a vital platform to acknowledge the unsung heroes among us – family caregivers. These dedicated individuals quietly devote their time, energy, and love to provide care for older parents, spouses, and loved ones.
The statistics are staggering – more than 1 in 5 adults, a total of 53 million Americans, are unpaid family caregivers, offering over $470 billion in care each year, according to a report from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving. As our nation’s population continues to age and live longer with complex and chronic conditions, the need for caregiving support is greater than ever.
Family caregivers are often stressed and seeking assistance to identify available resources in their communities. This is why United Way Worldwide (UWW), AARP, and 211 created their Caregiver Program.
Empowering Caregivers with the Caregiver Program
The Caregiver Program harnesses AARP’s caregiving team to understand the unique needs of caregivers and combines it with the United Way Worldwide and 211 network’s vast resources, trained staff, and infrastructure for service delivery. 211 is a free and confidential service designed to help people find the local resources they need.
The program has provided resources to over a dozen local United Way and 211 teams, enabling them to identify and support caregivers while expanding community partnerships to enhance the network of referrals and services. The results speak volumes – more than 700 caregivers have been connected to over 2,900 resources, making a profound impact on their lives.
Breaking Down Barriers to Caregiver Support
One of the key challenges in supporting caregivers is that many do not readily identify themselves as caregivers. They often see their role as merely helping a family member or friend. The Caregiver Program addresses this issue by training 211 navigators to ask probing questions, identifying those who are caregivers, and offering them specialized resources tailored to their unique needs.
Typical hardships faced by caregivers include emotional, physical, and financial strains, alongside the juggling act of caregiving, work, and other responsibilities.
How You Can Access Support
If you are a caregiver or know someone who is, it’s essential to be aware of the resources available. Check out AARP’s Family Caregiving Guides for an extensive list of tools that can make a difference. You can also connect with your local 211 team by calling 2–1–1 or visiting 211utah.org to explore resources for the caregivers in your life.
National Family Caregivers Month is not just about recognizing the dedication of caregivers; it’s about taking concrete steps to support them. Thanks to the Caregiver Program, caregivers are receiving the assistance they need, and barriers to support are being torn down.