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  2002 Press Releases  

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Jan Costello
Phone: 217-785-9020, TTY: 1-800-252-8966

November 1, 2002

NOVEMBER IS NATIONAL FAMILY CAREGIVER MONTH
Department on Aging Promotes Caregiver Resource Centers

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The explosive growth in the older population has greatly increased the need for caregivers providing care to chronically ill or disabled relatives, according to Illinois Department on Aging Director Margo E. Schreiber, who encourages Illinoisans to make an extra effort to help family caregivers during November - National Family Caregiver Month.

"Almost everyone knows of someone who is trying to care for an aging parent or spouse or other loved one," Schreiber said. "We need to do what we can to help these caregivers because in demonstrating their love and commitment, they are prone to experiencing burnout, stress and depression."

Schreiber said National Family Caregiver Month is an opportune time to educate family caregivers about available resources. She said the Illinois Department on Aging, Area Agencies on Aging and local service providers recently implemented a new Family Caregiver Support Program to provide family caregivers with information, assistance, training, counseling and respite care. As part of the program, more than 100 Caregiver Resource Centers – located in familiar locales such as senior centers – were opened throughout the state.

"There is a great need for these centers due to the large percentage of family caregivers providing care, often times while trying to work full-time and raise their own families," Schreiber said. "If anyone has questions or concerns about caregiving, the centers are a good place to start."

According to the Administration on Aging, the average age of family caregivers caring for someone aged 50+ is 46. Other facts:

  • The majority of family caregivers are female.
  • Caregivers dedicate, on average, 20 hours per week to provide care for older persons and even more when the person has multiple disabilities.
  • Because caregiving is such an emotionally draining experience, caregivers experience depression at three times the rate of others in their same age group and they are more likely to become ill.
  • If the work of caregivers had to be replaced with home care staff, the estimated cost would be $45-94 billion per year.

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For more information, call the Illinois Department on Aging's Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (Voice and TTY).



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