November Is National Family Caregivers Month - Honoring True Heroes
Honored and recognized every November, National Family Caregivers Month is the perfect time to honor family caregivers and caretakers across the country. It offers people an opportunity to raise awareness about caregiving issues, educate society and increase the much-needed support for caregivers.
This national day of observance is led by the Caregiver Action Network, a nonprofit organization offering free education, resources, and peer support for caregivers and professional caretakers. The Caregiver Action Network recently announced the 2021 theme #CaregiverAnd, encouraging caregivers and family members to celebrate interests and passions that enrich their lives. It is a time that helps us all recognize and honor caregivers and family members across the country.
Different types of caregivers
There are different types of caregivers. They are divided into categories of four.
Unpaid individuals look forward to providing non-medical assistance to different members of their community.
Individuals who offer different levels of assistance and support to their parents, spouse, and other family members. Family caregivers may or may not assist in regard to estate planning and financial matters.
Individuals who typically work for agencies, providing care and assistance similar to that of a family caregiver.
Individuals who hold a particular type of certification or a degree, like HHA Certification or a CNA license, which allows offering medical care, assistance, and support.
Duties of a caregiver
It is important to know that caregiving is not a one-size-fits-all kind of service. A person might only require help with transportation to doctor’s appointments, while other people may require frequent assistance and supervision.
Specifically, the primary duties of a caregiver can be:
1. Providing transportation help to people to meet their medical appointments or grocery buying needs.
2. Purchasing and managing their medication
3. Constantly keeping a check on their medical condition and monitoring them, like in the cases of diabetes, dementia, or COPD.
4. Helping coordinate and communicate with medical professionals
5. Facilitating appointments and interactions with agencies and providers
6. Helping and assisting senior citizens or any patient in and out of bed, bathing, dressing, and toileting.
7. Preparing and feeding meals
8. Managing estate, finances, and insurances.
Who can become caregivers?
Anyone passionate about helping other people can become a caregiver. With this fact already established, if you are looking forward to becoming any of the above-mentioned four different kinds of caregivers, you might require different skill sets, different certifications, fees, etc., depending on the level of care involved.
What is the role of a caregiver?
Caregivers are anyone who offers assistance and support, both physically and emotionally, to help enhance the well-being of a person who cannot do the same for themselves. While caregiving is often a term used in reference to senior citizens and older adults, caregivers can also offer care, assistance, and support to others who require help following injuries or experience a disability.
National Family Caregivers Month honors the heroes who do not receive recognition
Since caregiving is one of the most challenging professions across the country, for anyone, round-the-clock care and assistance, stress, shaky emotions, little rest, and in most cases, inadequate compensation, it is important that an initiative like the National Family Caregivers Month is celebrated. Former President Obama declared November as the National Family Caregivers Month in 2013. Since its inception, the mission of this month of observance has been to raise awareness regarding caregivers, their contribution to society, their lives, and their well-being.
Even the most loving and bubbly patient caregivers can become tired and require recharging to avoid any form of emotional or psychological burnout because of overworking and the related stress. However, one of the most remarkable things about advancing technology is the way it allows it to make our lives better and easier. This is truly no exception for any caregiver; emerging technology can only do so much to make this world better or a little different in multiple profound ways.
Fun Facts to Know about National Family Caregivers Month
Honored by the President annually
Caregivers are honored by the President of the US every year in November as we celebrate National Family Caregivers Month. The tradition first began in the 90s, when the National Family Caregivers Month was marked by a succession of Presidential Proclamation. Presidents from Clinton to Trump to now, Joseph Biden, have all paid tribute to these selfless Americans who tirelessly dedicate their lives to improving the lives of patients and loved ones. These Proclamations have helped encourage greater appreciation of caregivers in our country who have made everyone’s lives around them more manageable.
Over 43 million Family Caregivers in the country
As per the AARP report, it is estimated that there are over 43 million caregivers in the US alone, providing unpaid care for loved ones. Over 30% of these caregivers fall into the age group of 50-65, approximately 25% of the caregivers fall into the age group of 35-40, and almost 25% fall between 18-34. Nearly 1 out of 10 caregivers are aged 75 and above and provide care for their spouse with demanding needs.
Family caregivers dedicate a significant portion of their lives to caring.
As per AARP reports, some family caregivers have dedicated a significant portion of their lives to caregiving. Some of them have been in this role for over four years straight. A full quarter of these people have been caregivers for more than five years. The study calculates that caregivers end up spending an average of 24.4 hours every week caring for their loved ones. Almost 25% of these people are also full-time caregivers, dedicating more than 40 hours every week to meet the needs of their loved ones. Those caring for their spouses tend to be in the older age brackets and continue offering caregiving support and services for over 44 hours every week.
One of three family caregivers acts as their loved one’s full support force.
While most family caregivers get the opportunity to share the burden of caregiving with help from outside, like a professional care provider or a housekeeper, or a medical professional, this is not true for everyone. A third of all family caregivers act as their loved one’s complete support force without any of this outside assistance or getting paid in return.
Family caregivers experience stress due to their role.
Stress is almost always present in a caregiver’s daily life. Every caregiver has had to deal with stress and strain at some point in their lives, and some might even go through burnout. The stress of being a caregiver, stress of supporting their loved ones physically, mentally, emotionally, and sometimes even financially can be cumbersome in a lot of cases. In fact, 18% of all caregivers have reported experiencing financial stress as a direct result of having to cut back work hours to make some extra time to fulfill their caregiving duties.
Caring for yourself is as important as caring for others
Entering this profession and being a caregiver can be somewhat daunting. It might be hard at first, especially to figure out all kinds of intricacies of getting a grip of all the knowledge and things you should know, modifying your lifestyle to better provide for others, being responsible with someone’s finances and/or estate, getting used to medical equipment and other machinery. It can be really difficult at first, and finding some “me time” in this regime can often be forgotten. It is overwhelming, yet caring for yourself is as important as caring for others around you in this new schedule.
While becoming a caregiver, it is important to adjust your lifestyle a bit to include yourself in the plans too. You do not have to do it all alone. There are plenty of resources available everywhere. Just seek some help, and you will get the answers to your most complex problems. This National Family Caregivers Month, support yourself, love yourself, and care for yourself first; because if you do not do it, you will not be able to take care of others around you.
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