Opinion: Family caregivers, raise your hands, find relief

By Linda Miller, Kay Vanags and Kristie Wiltgen: For Complete Post, click here…

If you had the choice, would you sign up for a part-time job at 20 hours a week on top of your current full-time job?

Consider a working, single mother of two middle-schoolers and suddenly a “part-time” caregiver for her aging parents. Her parents, both in their 80s, struggle to manage finances, keep up with home repairs, and get to many doctors’ appointments. Balancing work and caregiver roles leaves her little time for herself. This real-life story mirrors that of so many Iowans, who find themselves in unexpected, demanding part-time careers. Too often, these caregivers are struggling in silence without support. 

Family caregivers — daughters, sons, spouses, grandchildren and beyond — are critical to the health and well-being of their loved ones. An estimated 317,000 Iowans are family caregivers, providing $3.9 billion worth of unpaid care annually. They are the backbone of the state’s health care system, but many caregivers don’t get the support they need and experience burnout. 

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