Caring for the caregivers

Cat and Rosie look after Sarah Gonella.
Caregivers Cat Mcnamara, right, and Rosie Moriarty, center, look after Sarah Gonella after she had a seizure before breakfast the morning of Wednesday, June 21, 2017. Gonella suffers from epilepsy, and the combination with her other disabilities can make her seizures very subtle, requiring her caregivers to be familiar with the details of her behavior.
Evan Frost | MPR News

The number of caregivers in America is swelling. More than 40 million Americans currently care for an elderly or disabled loved one. As the baby boomers retire, that number will only grow.

By all accounts, it’s a tough — if rewarding — job. Most family caregivers juggle paid work with their caregiving. Many of them are part of the so-called sandwich generation — caring for aging parents and young adult children. And the financial, health and social implications are dire. According to a study out of Stanford University, 40 percent of Alzheimer’s caregivers die from stress-related disorders before their loved one dies.

That’s why it’s important that the caregivers also learn to care for themselves. Thursday, Kerri Miller got practical suggestions from two experts who’ve been in the caregiving trenches and are now passionate about equipping others.

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