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An unpaid caregiver is someone who assists a friend or family member with activities of daily living or medical tasks on a regular basis. There are about 34.2 million Americans who have provided unpaid care for adults 50 or older in the last 12 months. In 2013, the economic value of these services exceeded $470 billion dollars. Family caregivers average approximately 24.4 hours per week providing services for a loved one while 1 in 4 caregivers spends 41hours or more providing care. The average age of a caregiver is 49.2 years old. On average, caregivers spend about 13 days a month on tasks like shopping, food preparation, housekeeping, laundry, transportation and giving medication. They spend about 6 days a month feeding, dressing, grooming, walking, bathing and assistance toileting and about 13 hours per month researching care services, coordinating physician visits or managing financial matters. The average duration of caregiving responsibilities is about 4 years and regardless of their employment status, caregivers report that positive activities in their lives are reduced by 27.2% as a result of caregiving activities. Caregivers are at risk for burnout which is defined by the Cleveland Clinic as “a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion due to the demands of caregiving. According to the Archangel National Caregiver Survey, 57% of caregivers reported high levels of stress, anxiety, and/or depression and additional studies tell us that caregivers have an increased risk of developing health problems.

If you are a caregiver experiencing any of these issues, you might consider a short term temporary stay at a senior living facility for your loved one. A break might give you, the caregiver, some respite so that you can recharge your own batteries and get a well -deserved rest from caregiving responsibilities. Whether you want to take a vacation, need some time in your home or are recuperating from a health issue, finding a temporary placement for your loved one may be just the medicine you need. Many assisted and independent facilities offer this type of service for short term stays (1-30 days) depending on their availability. If you are interested in finding out more about this option or other caregiving services, please call Roberta Hirshon MA LMSW, Cares Manager, Jewish Family Services, at 207-233-1051 or email her at robertah@jfsannarbor.org. There is support for you, the caregiver, and we are here to help.

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