We are fresh off a successful planning session with the Executive Council where we took a serious look at our work for 2013 and beyond. As leaders, the Executive Council looked objectively at our current work and also looked over the horizon on how to deliver that work in a more meaningful way. One consideration was looking at how we deliver our work to be more relevant to baby boomers who may want their information differently and who my engage with AARP differently.
See Also: Caregiving Resource Center
When we took this challenge on, one striking statistic which influenced our thinking was that there are more than 850,000 caregivers in Missouri. Overwhelmingly, caregivers are boomer women between the ages of 45 and 60, balancing the needs of their families and those of their parents or other family member. Their roles can become increasingly complex, starting with emotional support, helping with chores and transportation, doing intimate personal care, all the way to serving as care coordinators – navigating this complex system – and even providing health-related services in the home. Caregivers also bear direct costs: emotional strain, mental health problems, physical health risks, financial burdens, workplace issues, retirement insecurity and social isolation.
Our research shows that people across all the life-stage segments not only want caregiving information, but they expect to be able to get it from AARP. They shall.
The bulk of our work in 2013 will be caregiver-themed. The good news is that a lot of our current work can be slightly modified to be more caregiver-centered. An example is our work around making homes safer as you age through home modifications – the Home Fit Workshops. We’ve held dozens of these workshops across the state with little success in attracting caregivers, but the information is of vital interest to those caring for a loved one. We’ll need to talk about home modifications differently to be more relevant to caregivers, and may have to hold these workshops on weekends or evenings as many boomer women may still be working.
Our work around brain health, driving and medications, grandfamilies, and self-care programs on healthy behaviors all lend themselves to the caregiving population and our members as a whole. Along with our programming in these areas, our Speakers Bureau volunteers will play a critical role speaking on these topics to community groups across the state. So, 2013 will look familiar in many ways, just more focused to meet the needs of more and more of our members. I look forward to working with all of you as we look to deliver important and useful information to our members.
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