More than 40 million Americans are family caregivers, taking care of parents, spouses, partners, and other adult loved ones. To help caregivers get the support they need to take care of themselves and their loved ones, AARP and the Ad Council are continuing their successful Caregiver Assistance campaign with new PSAs, created pro bono by agency Spike DDB, designed to reach the underserved African-American caregiver population.

“Many people will spend more of their time and resources caring for their aging parents than they did raising their own children,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. “African-American caregivers are disproportionately affected as most are much younger than their white counterparts and often leave the workforce to provide care on a full-time basis. These new PSAs will help create greater awareness for caregivers who tackle tough issues every day, and provide information on the many resources that are available to help them meet their needs and those of their loved ones.”

The majority of family caregivers balance having a full- or part-time job with taking care of a loved one. This juggling of responsibilities can be highly stressful, putting caregivers at risk for depression, anxiety, lowered immunity, heart disease, and premature aging, as well as causing financial strain.

Additionally, African-American caregivers face unique challenges. According to a recent AARP study, while African-American caregivers spend similar amounts as white caregivers, their financial burden is higher due to lower average household incomes. African-American caregivers devote more than 34% of their annual income to expenses associated with providing care, compared with 14% for white caregivers. African-American caregivers are also more likely to spend over 21 hours per week caregiving, and the majority provide all or most of the care themselves, without the assistance of paid help.

“Caregivers provide invaluable support to their loved ones, and it’s critical that they also get the support they need and deserve,” said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council.  “We’ve been proud to partner with AARP on this important issue for the past four years, and this year we’re excited to evolve this campaign and help a new audience discover the practical advice, tools, and supportive community that can help ease their burden.”

The new series of PSAs are rooted in insights gleaned from qualitative research Spike DDB and the Ad Council conducted with African-American caregivers. The research found that that in African-American families, it’s often culturally expected that one person assumes the role of caregiver and shoulders the burden silently and stoically. The new series of PSAs are designed to resonate with this audience by acknowledging the pressure they often feel to be strong, even when they may be feeling overwhelmed. By speaking directly to the camera and sharing their ‘inner monologue,’ the caregivers in the PSAs demonstrate that it’s okay to seek help and support.

“The act of caregiving is something that’s near and dear to every single person who worked on this campaign,” said Dabo Ché, Executive Creative Director of Spike DDB. “We wanted to represent something that felt honest and real to the selfless people who navigate their way along the caregiving path, to celebrate their efforts and offer them unwavering support.”

The PSAs encourage caregivers to find “support for your strength” from the Caregiving Resource Center at aarp.org/caregiving or by calling 1-877-333-5885. On the website, caregivers can access practical health and wellness tips and resources and can interact with a supportive community of peers.

The campaign will also be promoted by actress Holly Robinson Peete and singer-songwriter Regina Belle, who share their caregiving stories in emotional new videos which will soon be available at aarp.org/caregiving, and radio DJ Donnie Simpson, who will host a #RealTalkAboutCare Twitter chat on November 22 at 1 pm EST.

A number of bloggers, vloggers, and online personalities who are influential in the African-American community will also lend their support to this campaign, engaged by the health and wellness media company Feel Rich.  These influencers will share their own personal stories of caregiving using the hashtag #RealTalkAboutCare, encouraging their followers and fans to join an online conversation about caregiver support.  In addition, Essence is serving as launch partner for this campaign, premiering the new creative on Essence.com and sharing the importance of these resources with their audience.

“Having taken care of loved ones, I have experienced firsthand the challenges and rewards of being a caregiver,” said Quincy Jones III, co-founder of Feel Rich.  “I’ve learned that getting help and support isn’t a sign of weakness—sometimes, it’s what you need to do to stay strong for the people who depend on you. We’re proud to be a part of a campaign that helps us get this message out in our community.”

Following the Ad Council’s model, the PSAs will be distributed to more than 33,000 media outlets nationwide and will be run in space and time entirely donated by the media.

Since the initial launch in August 2012, the Caregiver Assistance campaign has received over $185.3 million in donated media.  Since 2014, the Caregiving Resource Center has received over 15.7 million visits.

For more information about caregiving resources, please visit aarp.org/caregiving or call 1-877-333-5885.

 

 

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