Finally, some good news for family caregivers

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Take the entire population of Kootenai County and, for good measure, toss in another Coeur d’Alene.

That’s the rough equivalent of the number of family caregivers residing in Idaho. Yes, 200,000 or so, according to Idaho AARP.

When we refer to family caregivers, we’re talking about the uncompensated kind — people who provide care for loved ones with a whole range of needs, from Alzheimer’s to physical fragility due to age.

Does the following sound familiar?

“Idaho boasts an army of volunteer caregivers, but according to a 2017 Idaho AARP survey, you might put this face on the poster.

“The caregiver is a woman (58 percent), 55 or older (78 percent) who works full- or part-time while providing care (57 percent). She’s providing care because she a) doesn’t want her loved one to be moved out of his or her home or b) can’t afford any other option.

“She’s stressed out emotionally (64 percent) and tapped out financially (31 percent).

“And she’s got one big, beautiful heart.”

We wrote that in late 2017 as a link to some proposed legislation. Now there’s immediate help on the way.

The regional Alzheimer’s Association is offering a six-week training for family caregivers. The sessions are free and will take place each Thursday, starting May 2, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Area Agency on Aging, 2120 N. Lakewood Drive in Coeur d’Alene.

The workshops, called “Powerful Tools for Caregivers,” is an award-winning program with help covering a broad spectrum of needs and challenges.

“This workshop is designed specifically for families who have a loved one at home, in a facility or even long distance,” said PJ Christo, outreach coordinator for the regional Alzheimer’s chapter. “This enhances not only their quality of life, but also helps enable them with the patience required to be a successful caregiver. This, in turn, enhances their care recipient’s life as well.”

Because class size is limited by space, we urge family caregivers who would benefit from this outstanding training to sign up promptly. Call 208-666-2996.

In our book, you family caregivers are heroes.

You deserve a little help from your friends.

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