Besides celebrating Thanksgiving, we want to honor family caregivers during November – National Family Caregiver Month. Sponsored by the Caregiver Action Network, this year’s theme is “Care Comes Home.
That theme especially resonates with us at Andelcare because we are all about helping families care for their loved ones at home. The quality respite care we provide helps family caregivers take a much-needed break, which helps them continue to care for loved ones at home, where they are healthier and costs can be kept down.
According to the National Family Caregiver Association, most adults would prefer to age in place. In fact, 90 percent of adults over the age of 65 would prefer to stay in their current home. Studies show that family, friends and neighbors provide 80 percent of the care for the elderly.
With the aging of America, more and more families are taking on caregiving responsibilities.
Family caregivers may care for a spouse, for example, anywhere from a few weeks to years and even decades.
It is a daunting job and we all need to acknowledge their service.
Two out of every 5 adults are family caregivers. 39% of all adult Americans are caring for a loved one who is sick, disabled, or living with frailties of old age. That’s up from 30% in 2010.
Family caregivers are the only people who are present with patients in all care settings. Patients may have more than one doctor; nurses change shifts; prescriptions may be filled at different pharmacies. But family caregivers are there as full partners with their loved ones through it all.
Complex care happens in the home.Almost half of family caregivers perform sophisticated medical/nursing tasks for their loved ones – such as providing wound care and operating specialized medical equipment – and up to 70% manage medications for their loved ones.
Caregiving affects the whole family. Men are now almost as likely to say they are family caregivers as women are (37% of men; 40% of women). And even 36% of younger Americans between ages 18 and 29 say they are family caregivers!
Many families make changes at home because of their caregiving responsibilities. Some families have to tighten their belts at home to pay for out-of-pocket caregiving costs (an average of $5,500 per year). And many more have to make home alterations to ensure safety, security, and cleanliness for their loved ones.
Top Ways to Celebrate National Family Caregivers Month
1. Offer a few hours of respite time to a family caregiver so they can spend time with friends, or simply relax.
2. Send a card of appreciation or a bouquet of flowers to brighten a family caregiver’s day.
3. Help a family caregiver decorate their home for the holidays or offer to address envelopes for their holiday cards.
4. Offer comic relief! Purchase tickets to a local comedy club, give a family caregiver your favorite funny movie to view, or provide them with a book on tape.
5. Find 12 different photos of the caregiver’s family and friends. Have a copy center create a calendar that the family caregiver can use to keep track of appointments and events.
6. Offer to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for a caregiving family in your community, so they can just relax and enjoy the holiday.
7. Take a few minutes to write a letter. Encourage your faith community to ask for prayers not only for those who are ill, but also those who care for them.
8. Help a family caregiver find new educational materials and support through family caregiving web sites or by calling local social service agencies for help.
For more information please visit http://www.caregiveraction.org