This Living Local segment is sponsored by United Way.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CBS 42 Living Local) – Alabama Cares is one of the support programs offered by the United Way Area Agency on Aging. Alabama Cares is designed to help caregivers navigate their unique responsibilities, demands, and stresses of caregiving.

“A caregiver, by our definition, is an unpaid family member that is caring for someone at least 20 hours per week,” said Valarie Lawson with United Way Area Agency on Aging. “It’s very important for caregivers not to be consumed with caregiving. They should take time for themselves because you can’t take care of someone else if you are not taking care of yourself.” 

The demands of caregiving can have a negative effect on the health and well-being of the caregivers themselves. For example, studies show that caregivers of stroke survivors and dementia patients are at higher risk for depression and anxiety disorders. That’s why Alabama Cares offers monthly support groups for caregivers.

“Caregiver burnout is extreme. It can really take a toll on someone,” said Lawson.

Alabama Cares also offers supplemental services for caregivers for items that can be very expensive. This is a one-time award per year for a qualified caregiver.

This program also provides assistance for older relative caregivers. “That’s for anyone 55 and older that is raising a grandchild or other relative. During covid, we have assisted a lot of grandparents with printers and laptops for virtual learning,” Lawson said.

 Call 1-800-AGE-LINE, or click here for direct access to information on the Alabama Cares program and all other AAA services.