HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Aging Brian Duke encourages all Pennsylvanians to recognize November as National Family Caregiver Month. The designation honors the efforts of caregivers in the commonwealth.
A family caregiver is someone who provides any type of unpaid help or care to a loved one who is ill or has a disability. Whether it is physical, emotional or functional, a caregiver enables a person to remain in their home and community.
"Family and informal caregivers such as friends and neighbors are an invaluable source of support and service," Duke said. "We ask Pennsylvanians to take time this month to acknowledge and thank these caregivers for all they do. We also encourage family caregivers to reach out for information and support to improve caregiving skills and discover new tools and resources."
Pennsylvania has more than 1.3 million informal caregivers. These individuals provide an estimated 1.4 billion hours of unpaid help or care every year. As the older population increases, more adults will assume the role of caregiver.
The Department of Aging provides assistance to caregivers through the Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Program. The program provides information and training in caregiving skills. It helped more than 7,000 caregivers during the last fiscal year.
For those eligible, the Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Program also offers reimbursement for the cost of respite care and assistance with home modifications and some out of pocket expenses.
Caregivers are encouraged to access resources, including a taped series of caregiver information sessions on the department's website. Additional information and an application for the Pennsylvania Caregiver Program are available through local Area Agencies on Aging.
For more information about the Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Program and the taped caregiving series, please call 1-800-753-8827 or visit www.aging.state.pa.us.
Media contact: Christina Reese, 717-783-1550
Editor's note: The text of the Governor's Proclamation for Caregiver Support Month in Pennsylvania follows:
CAREGIVER SUPPORT MONTH
WHEREAS, both family members and professional caregivers are the wellspring of Pennsylvania's support to older adults with chronic conditions, frailty or disabilities, and as such sustain those who desire to remain independent in their own homes; and
WHEREAS, the Older Americans Act calls for the establishment of both informal and professional provider support services to help elderly citizens remain a vital part of the community; and
WHEREAS, caregivers, either attending to the client via providers, or through the devotion of spouses, relatives, partners and friends offer a wide range of assistance to prevent or delay placement in institutional settings; and
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania's Caregiver Support Program provides support through counseling and assessment of caregiver needs, financial assistance and training and referrals that may provide assistance; and
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania's 1,370,000 caregivers help older adults and those with disabilities to age and live well, thus constituting a profound resource to our Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, every day caregivers demonstrate extraordinary vigilance, dedication, patience and love in helping individuals and families; thereby assisting with personal care, overseeing medications, nutritional sustenance, advocacy during medical appointments or hospital stays, from physical help with household chores to providing emotional support; and
WHEREAS, caregivers who provide respite care to families of older adults with special needs and memory loss; reducing stress and mitigating the risk of abuse and neglect by providing such help, is a highly valuable service that cannot be overestimated; and
WHEREAS, the month of November by tradition is a time to reflect upon, recognize, and celebrate the important contributions of others, the impact of caregivers' service and the many powerful ways their skill and service binds together our common humanity.
THEREFORE, I, Tom Corbett, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim November 2013 as CAREGIVER SUPPORT MONTH in Pennsylvania. I encourage all citizens to recognize the important role all caregivers play in the lives of older Pennsylvanians.
GIVEN under my hand and the Seal of the Governor, at the City of Harrisburg, on this seventeenth day of October in the year of our Lord two thousand and thirteen, and of the Commonwealth the two hundred and thirty-eighth.
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Aging