There are some big numbers here. More than a quarter of the U.S. population were caregivers this year.

Seminar gives caregivers advice, support
Tracy Ahrens, Daily├é┬*Journal
August 18, 2002
Most all of us have been or will soon be a family caregiver. At times it's just "being there" for an aged loved one, but most often friend and family caregivers take on a more active role of assisting with healthcare, housing and financial issues for someone who can no longer do it themselves.

The Northeastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging, in association with their seventh Annual Senior Lifestyle Expo, will answer "what now?" and other important questions at their September 3 seminar, Caregivers Need Help Too! The seminar will be held from 7-9 p.m. at the Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace and is open to anyone that is a caregiver now or will be in the future. Families are encouraged to attend and on-site care services will be available for elder loved ones.

Featured as a speaker for this year's seminar is Patti Davis, best-selling author of "Angels Don't Die," and daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Davis will give a presentation about healing, reconciliation and her rediscovery of the power of family. Ms. Davis is currently writing "A Long Good-bye," which deals with her family's experience as they lose her father to Alzheimer's disease.

According to the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA), more than one quarter (26.6 percent) of the adult population has provided care to a family member or friend during the past year, translating to more than 54 million people. Caregivers focus on what their loved ones need. Now the Family Caregiver Support Program focuses on what caregivers need to help them take better care of their loved ones.

The National Family Caregiver Support Program calls for all states, working in partnership with Area Agencies on Aging and local community-service providers, to have five basic services for family caregivers, including:

information about available services

assistance in gaining access to supportive services

individual counseling, support groups, and caregiver training to assist in making decisions and solving problems relating to their caregiving roles

respite care to allow for temporary relief from their caregiving responsibilities