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Theme is “R-E-S-P-I-T-E: Care for Caregivers”

AMERICUS, GEORGIA (November 2, 2015) — November is National Family Caregivers Month and the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) is taking advantage of this designation to raise awareness, celebrate, educate, and increase support for family caregivers.

“Caregivers are an incredible asset to our nation’s healthcare system,” said Leisa Easom, Ph.D., executive director of the RCI. “They provide unpaid care (worth $470 billion annually) to millions of individuals – many times with service around-the-clock and without recognition. The RCI focuses on providing training and service for these caregivers to access respite and promote their health, skills, and resilience. During this month of November, let us express our deep appreciation for the work of all caregivers – both professional and family.”

More than 65 million family caregivers in the U.S. provide the largest proportion of care for dependent elderly individuals as well as adults and children with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Research has found that family caregivers report frequent stress, high rates of clinical depression and more health problems in general than the non-caregiving population. The RCI works to combat this issue.

According to Caregiving in the U.S. 2015, a joint research study between National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP Public Policy Institute, one in five caregivers reports a high level of physical strain resulting from caregiving, two in five consider their caregiving situation to be emotionally stressful, and one in five caregivers reports experiencing financial strain.

The theme for this year is “R-E-S-P-I-T-E: Care for Caregivers.” While caregiving can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life, it is also physically and emotionally draining. Asking for help is a sign of strength and taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do as a caregiver. Respite provides caregivers temporary relief from their caregiving duties allowing time to recharge. As one of the most frequently requested support services for family caregivers, respite protects the caregiver’s health, strengthens family relationships, prevents burn-out, and allows loved ones to stay at home up to three times longer. ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center reminds caregivers during National Family Caregivers Month to remember: R (Rest and Relaxation); E (Energize); S (Sleep); P (Programs that can help you); I (Imagination); T (Take Five); E (Exhale).

About the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving

Located in Americus, Ga., the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving is a division of Georgia Southwestern State University. The RCI was established in 1987 in honor of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, a GSW alumna who serves as president of the Institute's Board of Advisors. RCI establishes local, state, national, and international partnerships committed to building quality, long- term, home and community-based services. It advocates for evidence-based research to address the strain and burdens associated with family, volunteer, and professional caregiving. In 2013, with support from Johnson & Johnson, RCI established Operation Family Caregiver, which coaches the families of newly returning service members and veterans to manage the difficulties they face when they come home. For additional information about the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving and its programs, visit www.rosalynncarter.org or call (229) 928-1234.

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