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AARP and Ad Council Launch New National Multimedia PSA Campaign Letting the More than 42 Million Caregivers in the United States Know They Are Not Alone and Offering Resources and Support

New national survey shows more than half of caregivers need support and help

WASHINGTON, DC, August 16, 2012— More than half of America’s boomer caregivers, ages 40 to 60, need support and help, according to a new survey conducted by AARP and the Ad Council. The survey coincides with the launch of a new multimedia public service advertising (PSA) campaign created to provide information and support to the more than 42 million unpaid caregivers nationwide, many of whom feel isolated and alone in caring for their loved ones. The new Caregiver Assistance PSAs, created pro bono by ad agency Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (BSSP), illustrate the physical, emotional and mental strain on caregivers, communicating that there is help and “together we can be stronger.”

Family support is critical to the care needed for older adults as they age, but often comes at substantial cost to those providing care. In 2009, there were roughly 42 million unpaid caregivers in the United States, providing an estimated $450 billion worth of unpaid care to adult and aging relatives and friends. A popular misconception is that family caregivers are paid health professionals, providing full-time care to someone in need of daily help, when in reality, most caregivers are also working and managing their own families at the same time. In fact, many caregivers are women of the “sandwich” generation, who care for their kids and their aging parents at the same time.

Caregiving is a major commitment and can be complex and highly stressful work.  However, because many family caregivers think they are just doing their duty as a daughter or son, a wife or husband or a friend helping out someone they love, they do not identify themselves as caregivers and as a result, feel isolated and do not recognize there are resources to help them.

“Only those who care for others know what it’s really like to care for others. That’s why we created a community where caregivers can connect with experts and others facing similar challenges,” said Barry Rand, CEO of AARP. “We hope this campaign will help the millions of family caregivers in the U.S. feel heard and supported, in turn, helping them better care for themselves and for the ones they love.”

The new television, radio, print, outdoor and digital PSAs portray the isolation, sense of responsibility, and frustration a caregiver feels with an affirming depiction of family caregivers in typical situations with their loved ones, assuring families in the United States that they are not alone in their struggle, and communicating that AARP has set up a community of experts and other caregivers to “help each other better care for ourselves and the ones we love.”  The PSAs encourage caregivers to access these tools by visiting www.aarp.org/caregiving or calling a toll-free hotline at 877-333-5885.

The national survey, released today, shows that 63 percent of caregivers spend, on average, nine or more hours a week providing care to an adult over the age of 50 and nearly one in three (31 percent) describe the task as extremely or very difficult. Most notably, nearly one in three (30 percent) caregivers also has experienced some feelings of isolation. Additionally, 1 in 4 caregivers (26 percent) do not feel confident that they know where to go to find the support and information available to unpaid caregivers, while one in five caregivers (21 percent) do not feel like they have the support they need when it comes to caring for a family member or friend.

“We’re proud to join with AARP on this important and moving campaign aimed to bring awareness to the issue of caregiving,” said Peggy Conlon, President and CEO of the Ad Council. “Our research shows that caregivers feel alone and don’t know where to turn for help. Our PSAs and the wonderful resources and network provided by AARP have the potential to change that.”

A social media program kicking off this week will broaden the reach to campaign audiences on social networking sites and blogs nationwide. Caregivers can visit facebook.com/AARP for campaign resources and to find a community of other family caregivers like themselves.

"This campaign has been a labor of love for our agency. The idea of dramatizing a caregiver’s inner most feelings of isolation and frustration through the technique of a ‘silent scream’ we believe gets to the heart of the issue in a very emotional and powerful way," said BSSP Managing Director, Patrick Kiss.

The Caregiver Assistance PSAs will be distributed to media outlets nationwide beginning this week. Per the Ad Council model, the PSAs will air and run in advertising time and space that is donated by the media. The telephone survey, commissioned by the Ad Council and AARP, was conducted in partnership with Robinson & Muenster Associates. Research was conducted nationwide from July 14 to July 27, 2012. The sample consisted of 500 adults, ages 40 to 60, currently caring for an older adult.


AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for Americans 50+ and the world’s largest-circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for the 50+ audience; AARP VIVA, a bilingual lifestyle multimedia platform addressing the interests and needs of Hispanic Americans; and national television and radio programming including My Generation and Inside E Street. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.


BSSP (www.bssp.com) is a full-service marketing communications agency based in Sausalito, CA, providing services in advertising, online marketing, web development, data analytics, integrated communications planning, brand identity, design and strategic brand consulting. In 2010, BSSP was named by Adweek as “Best Small Agency of the Decade.” BSSP was also named by Outside Magazine as one of the “Best Places to Work in America” for 2011 and 2012.BSSP is one of the largest independent agencies on the West Coast and is known for providing highly creative, fully accountable marketing solutions to a broad array of marketers including Priceline, MINI Cooper, Columbia Sportswear, Sorel, AT&T Interactive, Isis Mobile Payments, Greyhound, BoltBus, Espolon, Mission Foods, El Pollo Loco and Verisign.

The Ad Council

The Ad Council (www.adcouncil.org) is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshalling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has affected, and continues to affect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives.

Media Contacts:

AARP, Nancy Thompson, 202-434-2560, NThompson@aarp.org

BSSP, Toni Lee, 203-761-1292, tlcomm@optonline.net

The Ad Council, Lisa Cullen, 202-331-5052, lcullen@adcouncil.org

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Thursday, August 16, 2012