Move aside, pilgrims. November, the month that hosts our nation’s holiday for giving thanks, has fittingly been named National Family Caregivers Month by the White House.
Recognizing the Important Work Family Caregivers Do Each Day
This month we’re breaking bread, and honoring the family members who balance work and life to care for family, friends, and neighbors in need. President Barack Obama announced, “The women and men who put their loved ones before themselves show incredible generosity every day, and we must continue to support them in every task they selflessly carry out.”
Family caregivers help their loved ones with everything from bathing to getting dressed, cooking meals, grocery shopping, and driving to appointments. These caregivers also do it all for free — a contribution AARP estimates is worth $470 billion a year. Plus, they’re juggling their own lives, work, and families.
With caregivers in mind, the president called for greater support behind the Affordable Care Act, which he says has provided numerous helpful programs like connecting caregivers to support groups and community based services that help Americans live “independently and with dignity.”
Take Care to Give Care
This year’s theme, “Take care to give care,” is focusing on the fact that America’s 40 million caregivers must take care of themselves first. Those who give so much often forget to think about themselves, and in turn can let their own health, and mental health, slip.
The Midland Reporter says a National Alliance for Caregiving and MetLife Mature Market Institute study reported 20% of employed female caregivers over 50 reported symptoms of depression, compared to 8% of women who are not caregivers. These statistics highlighting the importance of taking care to give care.
AARP is also honoring family caregivers this month providing a virtual Online Family Caregiving Fair. Here, caregivers can participate in live chats to help manage stress, as well as access important resources from family caregiving non-profits and government agencies, as well as AARP programs.
Do you know a family caregiver who deserves recognition this month? Tell us about them here in the comments below. And don’t forget to share this article with your friends and any caregivers you know.