In honor of #NationalFamilyCaregiversMonth we’d like to start off by thanking family caregivers for the dedication they put into caring for their loved ones day-in and day-out. Currently, there are more than 40 million caregivers across the country caring for their aging parents, ill spouses, children and other loved ones. Often times, family caregivers are underappreciated simply due to the fact that they care for members of their own family, which is considered to be expected. However, most family caregivers have other obligations to tend to outside of caring for their loved ones; most are employed, have a family at home, etc.
Life of a caregiver can be pretty hectic and while it may seem as though keeping busy allows for time and days to pass by quicker, most caregivers experience caregiver burnout when their load starts to overfill. Caregiver burnout cannot always be avoided, but for those who make time for themselves and take advantage of regular respite care, it can be less of a burden when it hits. Self-care is extremely important for family caregivers of any age. Surprisingly, more than 7 percent of family caregivers are over the age of 75, with that number steadily increasing. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, 21 percent of caregivers are Hispanic, 20.3 percent are African Americans, 19.7 percent are Asian Americans, and 16.9 percent are White.
Being a caregiver, is more than taking care of another being or loved one. More goes into caregiving than meets the eye, which is why caregivers can sometimes feel as though the time and effort they put in is not enough to be considered a job although it can be very time consuming. Depending on the care-recipient’s situation, a simple token of appreciation can go a long way. Caregivers experience a roller coaster of emotions, including loneliness, restlessness, and depression. The more support they have on their side, the easier this journey can be for them – and the person they care for.
This month to honor our Family Caregivers, make a plan to show the caregiver in your life just how much they are appreciated and mean to you. If you are a family member or friend of a caregiver, offer them relaxation, comfort, joy, or a simple break from their “norm.” While being stuck in the whirlwind, caregivers can sometimes forget how tired and wore down they really are (some might not even notice it until it is brought to their attention). Guaranteed they will appreciate any token of appreciation they receive.
At FSL, we offer an Empowering Family Caregivers Educational Series for those wanting to learn how to better balance their role as a family caregiver. Especially for those just beginning their journey, receiving loads of information can be overwhelming. Reaching out to FSL for support can go a long way. We offer you the tools and guidance you need as a caregiver while allowing yourself to have your own existence. Topics from the Educational Series include: Caring for the Caregiver, Caregiving Techniques, How to Plan for Care, and Avoid Scams, Fraud and Abuse. You can also visit our community events calendar to learn about other events and resources available near you.