Celebrating National Family Caregivers Month
November is National Family Caregivers Month, which recognizes and honors the work that so many family caregivers do for their loved ones.
The Caregiver Action Network
As the U.S.’s top family caregiver organization, CAN aims to increase the quality of life for the more than 90 million Americans responsible for loved ones with chronic conditions, disabilities, diseases, and frailties of aging.
This nonprofit organization assists many types of family caregivers, including the parents of children with special needs, the families of veterans injured in the line of duty, and more.
CAN offers education, support, and many resources for caregivers across the U.S. at no charge.
There’s no doubt that for family members, caregiving never truly stops. For that reason, this year’s theme is “Caregiving Around the Clock.”
For November, organizations like the National PACE Association (NPA) are working to help family caregivers receive the attention they deserve through the following:
- Raising awareness of common issues
- Celebrate their hard work
- Educate family caregivers about self-identification
- Raise support
According to CAN, “Caregiving can be a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week job. Providing care around the clock can crowd out other important areas of life.”
Here are five reasons why caregiving is such a challenge:
- Women make up more than half of family caregivers.
- 1 in 4 caregivers reports that their caregiving responsibilities negatively affect their relationships with other family members.
- The majority of caregivers must juggle career, family, social, and other responsibilities in addition to their caregiving role.
- Over 1 million people between the ages of 8 and 18 care for an adult relative.
- An estimated 70% of caregivers don’t visit the doctor because of their duties.
What the Average Day for Family Caregivers Looks Like
Those who have never acted as the primary caregiver or had experiences with caregivers might not understand the extent of caregiving.
Here are some of the hurdles of caregiving:
- Morning. The majority of family caregivers are working mothers with school-aged children. The morning involves readying the kids for school, making sure their loved one has everything they need, and lastly, preparing herself for work.
- During the day: Up to 70% of family caregivers are responsible for handling their loved one’s medications. Family members with more severe conditions are more likely to need more direct management. Additionally, the caregiver must make sure the right medication is taken correctly and ensure the medication list is current.
- Throughout the workday: 6 out of 10 family caregivers work either full-time or part-time. Many have to cut their hours, take a leave of absence, or quit their job to care for their loved ones.
- Evening: Caregivers must help prepare meals for their loved ones, in addition to the rest of the family. Nutrition is critical for maintaining one’s health (physically, emotionally, and mentally) and quality of life.
- Late night: This time of night may be the only time that the caregiver can take for herself. Having the chance to take a step back and recharge is critical for preventing caregiver burnout and adequately caring for a relative.
- Middle of the night: Depending on the loved one’s health and age, the family caregiver must prepare for unexpected hospitalizations that can occur overnight. This includes having the correct information and items ready ahead of time, just in case.
How to Participate in National Family Caregivers Month
You don’t need to be a family caregiver to take part in observing this month.
Here a few easy ways you can get involved and show your support:
- Attend a conference or workshop. The most proactive approach to make a change is by attending a local caregiving workshop. You can check the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) for details.
- Download a caregiving toolkit. Download NAC’s Circle of Care Mental Health Toolkit. It discusses self-care, getting an accurate diagnosis, ways to talk to health professionals, community services, and more.
- Take a nap! Family caregiving may be an around the clock job, but making time for sleep will help you feel better. Instead of doing a task when you have free time, let yourself rest.
How MeetCaregivers Can Help
Family caregivers need to know that it’s okay to take a break when things become overwhelming.
Respite care is a valuable resource for caregivers, and MeetCaregivers can help you find a qualified in-home care worker to assist your loved one while you recharge.
Call us at (888) 541-1136, or for general inquiries, message us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to check the blog for resources and tips for happy, healthy senior living.