November is National Family Caregivers Month

October 31st, 2019 | For Family Members

Family caregiving is one of the most vital “professions” within the healthcare industry, yet one of the least recognized and undervalued. Family caregivers put in long hours and endure both emotional and financial tolls in the pursuit of ensuring that their aging loved ones are cared for. It’s a literal labor of love, and yet sometimes even the family members themselves fail to appreciate the stress and immense effort that this caring entails.

It’s for that reason that the entire month of November was proclaimed National Family Caregivers Month in 2012 by Barack Obama, to appreciate for the nation’s invisible and unsung heroes. His proclamation reads:

“Across America, daughters and sons balance the work of caring for aging parents with the demands of their careers and raising their own children. Spouses and partners become caregivers to the ones they love even as they navigate their own health challenges… All of them give selflessly to bring comfort, social engagement, and stability to those they love. National Family Caregivers Month is a time to reflect on the compassion and dedication that family caregivers embody every day. As we offer our appreciation and admiration for their difficult work, let us also extend our own offers of support to them and their loved ones.

Facts that People Should Know About Family Caregivers

  • Caregivers have an increased likelihood of suffering from depression and have a greater risk of contracting other chronic conditions such as poor eating habits, lack of exercise and sleep deprivation.
  • Caregiving is a costly endeavor and can often result in the caregivers depleting their own financial resources while caring for their loved ones.
  • Caregivers are responsible for a massive 90% of care given in the USA.
  • The total value of unpaid care in the USA is estimated to be around $365 billion.

How to Support a Family Caregiver

The number one way of support a family caregiver is by being there for them when they need someone to talk to. Let them know that it’s okay to focus on themselves. Caregivers often feel guilty about prioritizing their own lives over the people that they’ve chosen to care for. But the truth is that caregivers have their own friends, families, and goals too. Let them know that they don’t shouldn’t guilty about prioritizing their own needs from time to time.

You can also put them in touch with networks specifically focused on providing support, information and guidance to family caregivers such as some of the many caregiver support groups provided by Legend Senior communities. If you know a caregiver who is struggling, depressed or just feeling under-appreciated, put them in touch with one or all of the following services:

The Family Caregiver Alliance

The National Allegiance for Caregiving

The Caregiver Action Network

The National Family Caregivers Association