HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — More Alabamians are being thrust into the role of first-time caregivers for older or disabled loved ones amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The poll found that as a whole, most first time caregivers are facing heightened levels of anxiety, compounded by the pandemic, about the unexpected responsibilities and added expenses they have had to take on.
One additional stressor listed by caregivers, is both the cost and preparation of additional food for loved ones. For families facing this type of pressure, the TARCOG Area Agency on Aging says it can help with pharmaceutical discounts, applications to SNAP benefits, and meals.
“A lot of these meals are going to homes. They’re being home delivered, and they’re free for people who are 60 and over. So that’s the easy part of it. We are able to meet that need for one meal a day,” said TARCOG Director of Aging Programs, Rene Breland.
Breland says her organization’s services may also be helpful to experienced caregivers, who began caring for loved ones prior to the pandemic. Of those surveyed, who have since lost a job or income, 42 percent say their caregiving responsibilities have increased. The poll also found that 28 percent of those caregivers had previously employed someone to provide in-home care, but had canceled it as a result of the outbreak.