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Caring for Caregivers: Support and resources for those taking care of loved ones

Caregiving is an essential component of healthy aging and thriving communities, but it’s important that caregivers also take care of themselves. Sponsored by AARP.

SEATTLE — More than 800,000 Washingtonians care for parents, spouses or other loved ones, and this can come with financial, emotional and social challenges for caregivers.

“You may not know you’re a family caregiver,” said Marguerite Ro, AARP Washington state director. “But if you’re helping somebody with getting groceries or bathing or even technology, you’re providing caregiving support.”

In a single year, caregivers in Washington are providing an estimated 770 million hours of unpaid care, according to an AARP report.

“If we were to pay for that care, that care is valued at nearly $17 billion just in Washington alone,” Ro said.

Caregivers help with the basic needs of loved ones but many also focus on how to keep them engaged. Ensuring there are proper resources for older adults is key.

“As people retire, they certainly want to keep engaged and interested in new things,” said Sofia Aragon, mayor of Burien.

For caregivers, Aragon suggests getting to know your loved one’s healthcare providers, as well as contacts for things like taxes and financial planning.

“I set myself up for when my mom wasn’t able to take care of herself in those ways, I knew exactly who to go to and just pick it up from where she left off,” Aragon said.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and a recent AARP study found that two-thirds of AAPI adults are either currently caregivers or have been caregivers in the past. Many people in the AAPI community feel strongly about taking care of their loved ones.

“As we know, caregiving can be really stressful,” Ro said. “That’s why we’re taking it upon ourselves at AARP to really help develop the resources and support for family caregivers because we have to take care of family caregivers themselves as well.”

Find resources and support specifically for caregivers on the AARP website and stay tuned to New Day for more Caring for Caregiver discussions.

Sponsored by AARP. Segment Producer Suzie Wiley. Watch New Day Northwest at 11 a.m. weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day. 

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