Living Columns & Blogs

Caring for aging parents is a marathon

Every day, a silent army of individuals performs a great labor of love: caring for aging parents, spouses and other loved ones so they can stay in their homes. Anyone who has done it knows caregiving is rarely a sprint. It is most often a marathon of planning, attending and doing, and it takes a toll on adult children caregivers. The mission of ACAP of Centre County, a unique 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is to support adult child caregivers as we care for our aging parents and ourselves.

Take a look at these overwhelming numbers:

There are 66 million unpaid adult family caregivers in America — 29 percent of the adult U.S. population — providing care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. Of that 66 million, approximately 40 million Americans help their older aging parents, spouses, grandparents, aunts, uncles or other loved ones. Female caregivers outnumber their male counterparts 2 to 1. In 2012, female caregivers were, on average, 48 years old, lived alone and provided 25 hours of care a week.

ACAP Centre County chapter was founded in May 2015 through the efforts of four core sponsors: Foxdale Village Retirement Community; Grane Home Health and Grane Hospice Care; HealthSouth Nittany Valley Rehabilitation Hospital; and Penn State Hershey Medical Group. The parent organization originated in Hickory, N.C. ACAP offers free educational programs on the second Tuesday of each month. These meetings are an opportunity to learn more about the challenges you face as a caregiver. They also provide an opportunity for networking and connecting with others who face similar challenges. All sessions are held at 5:30 p.m. the Country Inn and Suites on East College Avenue. They are free and open to the public.

The topic for July 12 is “Understanding and Responding to Dementia Related Behavior,” presented by the Alzheimers Association. On Aug. 9 we will present “Nutrition and Aging” and the September presentation will be by an AARP rep on “ Scams, Consumer Fraud and Identity Theft.” Please join us. An RSVP is appreciated but not required. For more information, look on our Facebook page, call 877-ACAP (2227) or email ACAP.CentreCounty

Jill Lillie is a member of the ACAP Centre County steering committee.