State Celebrates Family Caregiver Month

Contact: Geralyn Lasher (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

November 2, 2006

To raise awareness on the complex role of the increasing number of family caregivers in Michigan and the needs and issues faced by them, the Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) urges all Michiganians to celebrate November as Family Caregiver Month.

According to the 2000 census, Michigan has nearly 1.6 million people over the age of 60, representing 16 percent of the total population. As this population increases, the number of people needing care will also rise. In addition, grandparents represent a large population of caregivers. The census also reported 2.4 million of the 5.8 million grandparents living with their grandchildren are the primary caretakers of grandchildren under the age of 18.

"Family Caregiver Month is a time to give thanks to the valuable contributions to the estimated one million family caregivers throughout Michigan," said Sharon L. Gire, Director of the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging. "For caregivers, the responsibility of caregiving means re-evaluating personal finances, re-evaluating job opportunities and making compromises. We want caregivers to be aware that Michigan's aging network has support and service programs to alleviate the stress of their daily caregiving duties."

Family caregivers provide support daily or occasionally, and assist with services such as bathing, banking, shopping, food preparation and medical care. Caregiving places tremendous stress and burden on the caregiver and as a result, it has the potential to impact the health, work, family, personal relationships, and finances of the caregiver. OSA helps provide relief to caregivers through respite and related services to help them cope and continue providing valuable care.

It is estimated that more than 60 percent of today's adult population either is or expects to be a family caregiver. Caregivers such as spouses and adult children provide the overwhelming majority of homecare services in this country. Approximately one million of Michigan's citizens provide 1 billion hours of unpaid care annually to adults with illnesses or disabilities in the state with an approximate economic value of more than $9 billion per year.

The Michigan Office of Services to the Aging is the focal point of Michigan's aging network providing leadership, innovation, advocacy, and supportive services on behalf of Michigan's older adults and caregivers. For more information, please contact the Office of Services to the Aging at (517) 373-8230 or www.miseniors.net.