November is nationally recognized as Family Caregivers Month. Often forgotten and under-appreciated, family caregivers are some of the most important people in our communities. Not only do family carers help alleviate overcrowded social service programs, but they put in extra time and effort to make sure that our most vulnerable in society can live to their happiest and fullest potential.
What Does Family Care Giving Involve?
Being a family caregiver isn’t easy, but it is highly rewarding. Caregivers assist vulnerable people to live as independently as possible by taking over tasks that the person cannot do for themselves.
The scope of caregiving varies widely, from assisting a disabled person to attend social events a few times a week to full-time caregiving that involves cooking and cleaning, bathing, shopping, and anything else the elderly or disabled person needs to live a healthy and safe life.
5 Facts About Caregivers
- Many caregivers are not always recognized and most are unpaid. Family Caregivers are close relatives and many children become caregivers at an early age. It is estimated that over 1 million Americans between the ages of 8 to 18 care for an adult relative regularly.
- Over half of all recorded caregivers are women
- Most carers put self-care at the very bottom of their ‘To Do’ list. Over 70% do not see their doctors regularly because of their caregiving commitments.
- Family caregivers are given little to no financial support. Most have to take on full or part-time work on top of their caring responsibilities
- More than 34 million Americans provide unpaid care and support to an elderly or disabled person. 27% of them care for at least one child at home, as well as a vulnerable adult.
How to Support National Caregivers Month
Doing something that helps the caregiving community is of huge benefit. There are many charitable events and organizations where you can send donations that provide some of the facilities carers need to make life a little easier.
Check in the National Alliance for Caregiving and attend any of their events to show support for the cause! The NAC holds annual events and workshops as well as tons of information and practical advice.
Small acts of kindness in your local community make a big difference. If you know a caregiver, a care community, or any organizations that support carers, volunteering your time, attending fundraisers, and getting involved helps spread awareness of caregiving and increases national support for the cause.