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“For those dealing with the daily struggles of caring for a loved one, we hear you.”That’s the theme of a new series of public service announcements (PSA) that AARP and the nonprofit Ad Council have been broadcasting to television sets around the nation since mid-September. The campaign consists of ads for television, radio, print and online use that aim to:
One PSA offers a dramatic symbol for the campaign: the “silent scream” that caregivers may secretly feel like voicing but keep to themselves. In this PSA, 3 caregivers stop in the middle of their daily caregiving tasks – driving Dad, conferring with Mom’s health professionals and deciphering insurance paperwork – to throw back their heads and let out what looks like a piercing scream. The pain and frustration show clearly on the caregivers’ faces. No sound comes out of their mouths. The PSA then directs viewers to the AARP Caregiving Resource Center. That online community features web chats with caregiving experts, online support groups, legal documents and links to such programs as Eldercare Locator and the National Respite Center and Resource Center.
Caregivers can also call a hotline at 877-333-5885.
Valuing the Invaluable: The Growing Contributions and Costs of Family Caregiving, a 2009 AARP report (updated in 2011), describes the average U.S. caregiver as a 49-year-old woman who has held down a job while providing nearly 20 hours a week of unpaid care to her mother for nearly 5 years.
The report estimates about 42.1 million family caregivers in the United States provide care to an adult with limitations in daily activities. The estimated economic value of their unpaid contributions was approximately $450 billion in 2009.The report provides a laundry list of roles that family caregivers play, including:
"At first you're just helping out Mom,” AARP Vice President Debra Whitman told the Associated Press recently. “Then it can become more than a fulltime job ... Most caregivers don't know where to turn for help.”