November is National Family Caregivers Month. Family caregivers, or
informal caregivers, are unpaid individuals (i.e., spouse,
partner, or family member) who assist with activities of daily living
(i.e., eating, bathing, or dressing) and/or medical tasks (i.e., taking
medication or doing required exercises).
According to the 2015 Report Caregiving in the U.S., produced by
the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and the AARP Public
Policy Institute (PPI), approximately 34 million Americans provided
unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the prior 12 months.
Caregivers spend an average of 25 hours per week providing care, but
this increases to nearly 45 hours per week for the spouse or partner of
a care recipient. In addition, nearly 16 million adult family caregivers
care for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.
With an increasing number of Veterans requiring some form of caregiving
or assistance, there is a growing need for evidence-based research that
supports family and/or informal caregivers. Studies funded by VA’s
Health Services Research & Development Service (HSR&D) address many
aspects of the informal caregiver’s role, such as emotional support,
access to services, and in-home safety. In addition, VA HSR&D’s
Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) Caregiver Support
(VA-CARES) Evaluation Initiative also works with Caregiver Support Program
to evaluate short-term impacts of the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for
Family Caregivers and the Caregiver Support Services Programs.
VA’S CAREGIVER SUPPORT LINE ASSISTANCE IS JUST A QUICK PHONE CALL AWAY.
WHETHER YOU’RE IN NEED OF IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE OR HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT
WHAT SERVICES YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR, THE CARING LICENSED SOCIAL
WORKERS WHO ANSWER THE SUPPORT LINE CAN:
* Provide you with information about assistance available from VA.
* Help you access services.
* Connect you with the Caregiver Support Coordinator at a VA Medical Center near you.
* Just listen, if that’s what you need right now.
If you’re just getting started with VA, calling the Caregiver Support Line @ 1-855-260-3274 is a
great first step to learn more about the support that is available to you.