National Family Caregivers Month – celebrated each November – is a time to recognize the more than 40 million people in the United States who serve as unpaid family caregivers. Each day in homes throughout our nation, Americans with chronic or terminal illnesses, functional impairment, or disabilities receive compassionate care and support from family members and loved ones.
History of National Family Caregivers Month
The National Family Caregivers Association began promoting national recognition of family caregivers in 1994. President Clinton signed the first NFC Month Presidential Proclamation in 1997 and every president since has followed suit by issuing an annual proclamation recognizing and honoring family caregivers each November.
What Are Family Caregivers?
Family caregivers are silent heroes who tend to daily care needs, manage health emergencies, juggle priorities, and suffer isolation – and all that was before COVID-19. This remembrance has never been more important than in 2020, as caregivers are forced to address overwhelming realities faced with their family members and loved ones during these uncertain and unprecedented times.
10 Tips for Family Caregivers
To help caregivers handle the unique challenges of caregiving in this time of crisis, the Caregiver Action Network recommends the following:
- 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!
For more information and resources go to their website – CaregiverAction.org. For local resources contact the Middlesex County Office of Aging and Disabled Services at 732-745-3295 or use the toll-free number: 1-877-222-3737.