Survey Finds Caregivers Don’t Use SL County Services

(KCPW News) A survey shows more than 70 percent of caregivers for the elderly in Salt Lake County are missing out on potentially valuable assistance from the county’s Division of Aging Services. The county’s Caregiver Support Program provides assistance for caregivers who are 18 and older, and caring for family members who are 60 or older. Kathy Nelson, a training specialist with the program, says the county contracts with agencies to provide in-home services for mobility, dressing and bathing, for example, and refer caregivers to the resources.

“So we could work with other agencies who might be able to provide housekeeping or in home services that would support the caregiver so that they could get away for respite,” she explains. “Maybe we could help provide a cane or a walker or help locate a chair that would help lift the person.”

But Nelson notes a survey the division performed in Fall 2011 shows few people access these resources.

Nelson was not only surprised by that, but also the fact that regardless of a caregiver’s age, they all have the same needs.

“Whether they were the 18-to-29 age bracket or whether they were the older caregivers caring for a spouse, all of their education needs and all of their respite needs were exactly the same. Stress management, how to find resources, how to navigate family dynamics, how to hire in-home care and dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” she says.

The survey also showed the majority of caretakers continue to work full or part-time jobs while providing care for loved ones. And three out of four caregivers are female. These findings will be presented to the Salt Lake County Council today.