November is National Family Caregivers Month, recognizing and honoring family caregivers who spend hours each day taking care of relatives or loved ones. It’s a difficult and sometimes thankless job. More than 65 million people in the US provide home are for an ill, disabled, or older family member or friend each year. The value of the services family caregivers provide for free is estimated to be close to $375 billion dollars a year.
The Caregiver Action Network provides support for Family Caregivers. Annually they set a theme for National Family Caregivers Month. The 2017 theme is Caregiving Around the Clock, honoring that family caregivers are constantly taking care of their family.
They published a great 10 tips for Family Caregivers list that I’m reposting:
- Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone!
- Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
- Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
- Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
- Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
- Watch out for signs of depression and don’t delay getting professional help when you need it.
- Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
- Organize medical information so it’s up to date and easy to find.
- Make sure legal documents are in order.
- Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!
Do you know someone who is a family caregiver? What can you do to help them?
Additional information for National Caregivers Month can be found on their website at National Family Caregivers Month.