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AARP report on caregivers: ‘Time is one of the greatest gifts we can offer’

Are your employees moonlighting? New AARP Oregon research shows that many family caregivers are still in the workforce and doing double duty for their employer and their family members.

The 2016 Oregon Caregiving survey released today found that most Oregon residents age 45 and older have experiences as family caregivers, or believe they are likely to be caregivers in the future. Currently, more than half of family caregivers are still in the workforce.

“This means some of our friends and families are pulling double duty,” said Jerry Cohen, AARP Oregon State director. “Caregiving is a labor of love, but helping another person who is ill and maybe frail can be a tough job under the best of circumstances.” The survey found that 52 percent of family caregivers are still employed.

And there is important economic reason many caregivers may want and need to work. Recent AARP national research showed that family caregivers spend on average $6,954 on out-of-pocket costs related to caregiving, nearly 20 percent of their annual income (www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-2016/caregiving-costly-to-family-caregivers-jj.html).

Employers can help family caregivers by offering them flexibility at work, said Jon Bartholomew, government relations director at AARP Oregon.

“Time is one of the greatest gifts we can offer family caregivers,” he said. Employed caregivers report that sometimes they need to shift their work schedules or take time off to accommodate medication management, doctor visits and legal issues for their loved ones. “This can be a win-win,” he said. “Employers invest a great deal in their employees, and by offering some flexibility, they can keep their workers and help strengthen Oregon families.”

There are approximately 470,000 family caregivers in Oregon. The “typical” Oregon caregiver is:

• A woman — 61 percent

• Married – 62 percent

• Employed – 52 percent

• Post high school or college degree – 77cent

Tips for family caregivers during the holidays

Simplify — what do you need to do versus what you traditionally have done? How can you simplify all the demands of the holidays whether it’s ordering food to be delivered or making the holiday meal a potluck.

Self care, self care self care!! Make sure you get a break and do something nice for yourself. It will help you be more resilient.

Ask for help! Don’t try to be all things to all people. It’s OK to reach out to friends and co-workers.

Visit the AARP.org website for more tips and tools for caregivers — and we wish all of our family caregivers a wonderful holiday season.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of 500,000 people in Oregon. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org/or or on Facebook at www.facebook/AARPOregon.



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