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Caregiving: Labor of Love Can Be a Confusing Maze

Resources to help people navigate responsibilities of caregiving

If you take pride in caring for an older family member, but struggle with the dizzying array of options and challenges, you are far from alone. After all, some 44 million Americans are family caregivers.

Often described as a “labor of love,” caregiving can be a confusing maze. When a loved one needs personal or medical help, caregivers don’t know where to turn.

That’s why AARP has just expanded the online Caregiving Resource Center. In addition, AARP endorsed a suite of Web-based, telephone and in-home consultations made available by a major provider. This wide range of practical tips, information and resources can help you develop practical plans and ease the stresses of caregiving.

See also: AARP Caregiving Webinars.

Caregiving Resource Center

AARP’s free informational resources focus on providing people with the tips and tools they need in their role as a caregiver. This includes information about health, living arrangements, driving, financial planning and long-term care.

The online AARP Caregiving Resource Center puts all this material at your fingertips to help you develop care plans that are right for you and your loved ones.

Main topics in the AARP Caregiving Resource Center include:

  • Getting started: Tips on getting organized, and knowing what to expect as you prepare to care.
  • Providing care: What’s involved with the day-to-day needs of a loved one receiving care at home.
  • Housing options: An overview of housing options, from living independently to round-the-clock nursing care.
  • Legal and financial matters: Helpful information for managing someone else’s legal matters and finances, from monthly budgets to writing wills.
  • End-of-life care: Options for pain management, palliative care, hospice and more in the final stages of life.
  • Care for the caregiver: Information about how to balance work and family, deal with stress and take care of your own needs while you care for someone else.

Volunteer learns and shares

Carol Williams, an AARP member from North Carolina, found AARP’s materials so valuable that she began devoting time as a volunteer trainer at caregiving workshops.

Williams has conducted more than 20 AARP workshops during the last year to help people cope with their varied caregiving responsibilities. She relates personally to their struggles, drawing on her own experiences as a caregiver for both her elderly mother and an adult son with cerebral palsy who is legally blind.

One seminar Williams presents helps people determine what they'll need in their new roles as caregiver. Participants learn how to assemble an action plan for providing care for the recipient and themselves. They also learn how to access support services in the community.

A checklist-filled resource guide, Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families (pdf), is available for free on AARP’s website.

AARP® Caregiving Help and Advice from Genworth

As a benefit of membership, AARP members can access services, both paid and free, through the groundbreaking AARP Caregiving Help and Advice from Genworth. It helps replace a patchwork of information with a more coordinated, integrated approach.

For free, AARP members registered at can compare nursing homes' Medicare star ratings and see which home care agencies are part of Genworth’s provider programs.

AARP members also have an opportunity to purchase four service plans — Web Advisor, Phone Advisor, In-Home Advisor and Service Finder. They were created by Genworth based on the understanding that families facing a caregiving situation often want options when it comes to meeting their caregiving needs.

Learn more about the wide array of available care support services and benefits available from AARP at

What do you think of this article and the work AARP has accomplished in 2012? Use the comment box below to share your thoughts.

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