KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- More than a million Kansans and Missourians care for loved ones who are frail, sick or disabled. November is "National Family Caregivers Month." A new survey by AARP finds that more than half of caregivers are proud to do it. But about a third said their lives had changed, and not in a good way. A third said they were sad or depressed, and close to half said they didn't share their feelings with others.
"It tends to impact how much sleep they're able to get, whether or not they're able to maintain a healthy weight, and truly it cuts off a lot of social life, social interaction," said Diane Hall of AARP Missouri. "It can lead to some downsides of being depressed and just being worn out."
Hall noted that many caregivers also have full-time jobs.
"The average caregiver is a 49-year-old woman who is still employed full-time but still caregives 20 hours a week or more," Hall said.
AARP has teamed with the Ad Council to create public service announcements to thank caregivers. You can also go online to thanksproject.org and give thanks to a special caregiver.
Hall emphasized that we can all offer to help caregivers. The AARP has resources for them at aarp.org/home-family/caregiving.