The support given by family caregivers helps people with disabilities live happier, more fulfilling lives. Whether a family member or friend, the love and dedication they provide are essential to the health, wellness, and independence of their loved ones.
Each year in November we celebrate National Family Caregiver Month to acknowledge, recognize, and honor family caregivers across the United States. We do this by:
- Celebrating family caregivers everywhere
- Raising awareness about the important role family caregivers play
- Increasing resources and support for family caregivers
- Educating family caregivers about the importance of self-care
The History of National Caregivers Month
Caregiver Action Network, a nonprofit that provides free education, peer support, and resources to family caregivers, began promoting recognizing family caregivers in 1994. In 1997, President Clinton signed the first National Family Caregiver Month proclamation.
Since then, every president has done the same and issued an annual proclamation that honors and recognizes family caregivers every November.
The Challenges Faced by Family Caregivers
People with disabilities are living longer, healthier lives due to advances in healthcare, technology, and the continued dedication of caregivers. This is great news, however, it also means the needs of family caregivers are growing.
Caregivers help by providing assistance for a myriad of activities involved with daily living, including:
- Paying bills
- Helping to manage a chronic disability or disease
- Providing emotional support
Family caregivers face challenges of their own, as caring for loved ones can take significant time and add stress to their lives.
Research shows that one in three caregivers provide 20 or more hours per week of care and over half have given care or assistance for 24 months or more.1 Nearly one-quarter of caregivers are middle-aged and older adults who have additional responsibilities to attend to as well as caregiving.
The CDC declares caregiving as an “important public health issue that affects the quality of life for millions of individuals”.1
While caregiving can be highly rewarding and bring a sense of satisfaction and purpose, it is important to understand and recognize the mental, emotional, and physical toll caregiving brings as well. In addition to wellness issues, caregiving can also bring social and economic stressors to the caregiver’s life.
National Family Caregivers Month strives to bring awareness to the needs of caregivers and stimulate changes to the support systems provided to caregivers to ensure they have the resources, education, and information they need to minimize the stress of caregiving.
How Public Health Professionals Can Help
- Educate the public about the importance of caregiving and provide resources and support
- Provide and evaluate caregiver training and support programs
- Increase the access to evidence-based programs and services that support caregivers
- Increase messaging that underscores the importance of caregiver health and well-being
How You Can Help Support National Caregivers Month
The theme for this year’s National Caregivers Month is “#CaregiverAnd’, to highlight caregivers’ individuality and help them focus on their self-identity and unique passions that enrich their own lives.
Often, a role as a caregiver can overshadow an individual’s own needs, and this campaign seeks to raise awareness about the importance of self-care for all caregivers.
The Caregiver Action Network
The Caregiver Action Network provides many useful resources, tools, and supports, including:
- The Top Ten Tips for Family Caregivers
- Caregiver Videos
- Caregiver Stories
- and a Family Caregiver Toolbox
If you are a caregiver, lend your voice to this effort and share your story to help other caregivers feel less alone. Provide advice and tips for ways you manage your own self-care.
Share these resources on social media (using the #CaregiverAnd hashtag) and within your community to help everyone understand more about the importance of caregiving and the ways they can support caregivers in their lives.
Join the Thrive Community!
The Thrive Community Facebook Group is a ever-growing, private space for any person with a disability, as well as caregivers and healthcare providers that touch their lives.
Our purpose is to provide a safe, educational space for group members to ask every question, connect with their peers, and empower each other through communication and connection. Our conversations are led by incredible individuals who themselves are living and thriving.
For more enlightening resources, information, and discussion, join the Enemeez® Thrive Community today!
Disclaimer: The material contained is for reference purposes only. Quest Products, LLC does not assume responsibility for patient care. Consult a physician prior to use. Copyright 2021 Quest Products, LLC.