Among us, there are many individuals who act in one capacity or another as a caregiver for a family member, neighbor, friend, or patient. Specifically, according to the National Family Caregivers Association, there are more than 65 million family caregivers in the U.S. right now. For many caregivers, this act of selfless service is not a job or requirement, but rather something they do on top of their other work and responsibilities out of love. President Barack Obama declared November 2012 National Family Caregivers Month; the proclamation can be read in its entirety here.
Often, when providing care for individuals who are aging or with chronic health concerns, caregivers look for outside resources to help them provide the best, most efficient care. The National Council on Aging has 6 resources they recommend all caregivers be aware of. Medicare also provides a resource tip sheet for caregivers to make sure they are caring for themselves as well. While both of these resources are rather brief, there are several extensive resources for caregivers. Whether you are new to or more experienced in caregiving, taking some time to examine resources that are available to you as a caregiver can be extremely beneficial. The National Alliance for Caregiving and Emblem Health released a document, Care for the Family Caregiver: A Place to Start, in 2005. Additionally, MetLife distributed a Resource for Caregivers in 2007 in conjunction with the National Alliance for Caregiving and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
Caregiving can be a very tough, but rewarding, responsibility to shoulder. Take some time this month to thank the caregivers you know for doing what they do. And, be willing to offer them a break every once in awhile. Thank you caregivers for everything you do!