This year’s National Family Caregivers Month theme encourages caregivers to celebrate the many passions that enrich their lives, and calls on us to recognize and honor family caregivers across the country. And there are a lot of people to honor! According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, an estimated 53 million adults have provided care to an adult or child with special needs at some time in the past year, and that’s up by 10 million adult since 2015. Nearly 20 percent of those people are providing unpaid care to an adult with health or functional needs, and 24 percent are caring for more than one person, up from 18 percent in 2015. More people are also caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, 26 percent, compared to 18 percent in 2015. Sadly, 23 percent say caregiving has made their health worse, up from 22 percent in 2015. What’s more, family caregiving duties fall upon people across all generations, from Boomers to Gen Z, and a whopping 62 percent of family caregivers are also working. At JABA, we offer a number of support services for caregivers, and have plans to ramp up those services as we recognize that those numbers we mentioned above are likely to increase in the coming years. One of the most important support services for caregivers is respite care. Since so many family caregivers are working, and caregiving itself can be so challenging, being able to leave a loved one in the care of others for a time is crucial. Our two Adult Care Centers in Charlottesville and Louisa provide weekday care for older adults, including individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and those over 18 with disabilities. We also operate Shining Star Preschool at our Charlottesville location, which not only helps those caregivers with children logistically, but the intergenerational programming can be enriching for both elders and children. Our Home Delivered Meals program can be a lifesaver for a family caregiver, reducing the burden of preparing nutritious food for a loved one who is homebound. Our local Alzheimer’s Association, in collaboration with JABA and The Center, also offers caregiver support groups, and JABA’s Caregivers Facebook Group has become a place where 450 members share information, advice, and encouragement. Should you have any questions about caregiving support services, feel free to contact Cheairs Frank Graves, JABA’s Caregiver Services Coordinator, at 434-260-8768 or cgraves@jabacares.org.  

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