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Sometimes the Caregivers Need the Care

Family caregivers often need care themselves, but don't know where to turn. (publichealth.net)
Family caregivers often need care themselves, but don't know where to turn. (publichealth.net)
December 28, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. – Advocates for people who help and care for their older friends and family members say those caregivers need more recognition and support.

AARP North Dakota State Director Josh Askvig said they hear touching stories all the time.

"Helping folks like Larry, who's a caregiver in Carson, North Dakota, who's doing solo caregiving for his wife 24/7, for about the last 15 years," he said. "And how we can help him and 62,000-plus neighbors across North Dakota, who sacrifice their time and money to keep their loved ones safe and independent at home?"

Askvig said they are working with state officials to find the help those caregivers need. He also explained that what many caregivers need is some backup and a break.

"We're looking at working with the Legislature and the governor's office and others to figure out how we can put in additional supports and services for individuals, family caregivers, to make it easier for them to find respite care or adult day care, or other services that make their jobs less stressful," he explained.

Askvig said those caregivers provide more than just a helping hand to a family member.

"The North Dakota caregivers provide an estimated $860 million of uncompensated care to North Dakotans," he added. "It's happening all around us, and many times folks don't even realize they are doing it."

Askvig said they are following a couple of bills that will be introduced in the 2017 session, which begins Jan. 3.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - ND