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Chatham County Honors Family Caregivers Throughout November

Post Date:10/28/2019 10:40 AM

PITTSBORO, NC – November is proclaimed as Family Caregivers Month and also as Alzheimer's Awareness Month in Chatham County. This local recognition, designated by the Chatham County Board of Commissioners, is in concert with North Carolina and the nation.

This year’s national theme for Family Caregivers Month—Caregiving around the Clock—speaks to the all-encompassing tasks of caregiving for loved ones, including those with Alzheimer’s disease and children with special needs.

“On a day-to-day basis, the duties of a caregiver can range from shopping, meal preparation, household chores, transportation and companionship—to managing medications and finances, providing personal care, performing complex medical procedures and much more,” said Susan Hardy, family caregiver specialist at the Chatham County Council on Aging.

“In an effort to help family caregivers, the Council offers a wide array of services and supports,” added Hardy. These include in-home caregiver respite, a support group at both of the Council’s centers, caregiver training and options counseling. In addition, many of the Council’s other services—such as Meals on Wheels, in-home personal care, incontinence supplies and loaning of assistive equipment—can help relieve the caregiver.

On Thursday, November 7th, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at its Western Center in Siler City, the Council on Aging will hold its annual Candlelight Reflection Ceremony in honor of National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month.

A recent AARP survey found that more than half of North Carolinians aged 40 and older are current or former caregivers. An even higher percent of respondents said they would likely be providing care in the future. This is not surprising given the aging of North Carolina’s population.

This same survey reported that North Carolina’s typical family caregiver is a 60 year old woman who is caring for a parent. “Caregiving can take a toll on the caregiver’s physical, emotional and financial well-being, including on those seeking to balance caregiving with a working career,” said Beth Moran, who facilitates the Council’s family support at the Western Center in Siler City.

According to a 2016 report of the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities, the average number of hours of caregiving per week is more than 24. It is expected that this number is much higher for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease. As of 2017, Alzheimer’s was the fourth leading cause of death in Chatham County for individuals aged 65 and older.

“Not surprisingly, our Chatham County Board of Commissioners readily sought to join the state and nation in proclaiming November 2019 as Family Caregiver Month,” said Chatham County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Dasher. “We are calling upon the people of Chatham County to join the Council on Aging in honoring and supporting family caregivers, not only in November but throughout the year. Families are the backbone of long-term care.”

For further information about the work of the Council on Aging in support of family caregivers, contact Beth Moran at the Western Center at 919-742-3975, beth.moran@chathamcoa.org; or Susan Hardy at the Eastern Center at 919-542-4512, susan.hardy@chathamcoa.org.