Family caregivers are special people whose commitment and dedication to the people they serve is unrivaled.
Across the nation, growing numbers are accepting the challenge to provide care to loved ones.
Many don’t seek the challenge but have it thrust upon them, often with little notice or preparation.
A report from 2015, called Caregiving in the US, from AARP Public Policy Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving found that many caregivers, especially older adults, had little choice to but to accept their new role.
They estimate that there are 43.5 million adults in the United States who have provided unpaid care to an adult or a child in the prior 12 months.
Are you one of these special people?
For Whom Do We Care?
Here are just some of the many ways people who care support and assist others. Many are family caregivers, but there are also millions who provide care, either paid or on a volunteer basis.
- Children caring for their aging parents or other aging family members
- Seniors caring for their grandchildren
- Young adults caring for their grandparents
- Parents caring for a child with special needs
- Spouses caring for their disabled loved ones
- Adults caring for people with dementia
- Healthcare workers caring for sick, injured and frail people
- Volunteers delivering meals everyday
- People serving their community in support groups, respite care or outreach programs, agencies, congregate sites, and health events
- Friends caring for friends
- Neighbors caring for neighbors
- Church members caring for people in the congregation
- Nurses, aides, social workers, doctors, dietitians, foodservice workers, hospice workers, priests and pastors, advisors, case workers, activity personnel, financial advisors, dentists, housekeepers, mental health professionals, pharmacists, and everyone who cares for others everyday
Many of us will be family caregivers for someone at some point in our lives — if we are not already, that is.
Nothing really prepares us for this role.
We are usually not thanked by the people for whom we so lovingly care. Sometimes, in fact, we are the object of their anger and frustration at needing help.
Let us say THANK YOU for the caring and commitment you show!
Many of our senior loved ones would not have the quality of life they now do without your ongoing support!
This month we stop to celebrate family caregivers who are so important to our seniors.
Caregiver Action Network helps us to observe this special celebration and the theme this year is “Take Care to Give Care”.
It is so important to care for yourself first as a caregiver so that you can remain healthy in body and mind to care for others.
Family caregivers devote themselves to serving others.
They want to keep someone else safe from harm.
Caregivers feed, wash, engage, transport, and do anything possible to meet the needs of their loved ones.
It can be physically exhausting, financially burdensome, and emotionally draining, but almost all caregivers wouldn’t do it any other way.
The Caregiver Action Network reminds family caregivers of these important goals:
- Caregiving can be a stressful job. Most family caregivers say they feel stressed providing care for a loved one. With all of their caregiving responsibilities – from managing medications to arranging doctor appointments to planning meals – caregivers too often put themselves last.
- The stress of caregiving impacts your own health. One out of five caregivers admit they have sacrificed their own physical health while caring for a loved one. Due to stress, family caregivers have a disproportionate number of health and emotional problems. They are twice as likely to suffer depression and are at increased risk for many other chronic conditions.
- Proper nutrition helps promote good health. Ensuring that you are getting proper nutrition is key to help maintain your strength, energy and stamina, as well as strengthening your immune system. Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the most powerful things you can do to take care of yourself and keep a positive attitude overall.
- Ensuring good nutrition for your loved one helps make care easier. As many as half of all older adults are at risk for malnutrition. Good nutrition can help maintain muscle health, support recovery, and reduce risk for re-hospitalization – which may help make your care of a loved one easier.
- Remember: “Rest, Recharge, Respite” People think of respite as a luxury, but considering family caregivers’ higher risk of health issues from chronic stress, those risks can be a lot costlier than some time away to recharge. The chance to take a breather, the opportunity to re-energize, is vital in order for you to be as good a caregiver tomorrow as you were today.
Information and Insights
We have some informative articles to share that will help you achieve these goals:
We hope that you enjoy these insights and that they will help you as a caregiver on your journey.