November is National Family Caregivers Month and we’re honored to know so many wonderful home caregivers. We hope you’ll celebrate the month with us by letting your family caregiver know how much their effort is appreciated and admired.
If you are the family caregiver, take a moment to relax and care for yourself. Now is the perfect time of year to schedule a respite weekend so that you can recharge and reflect just before the holiday season.
National Family Caregivers Month was created in 1994 – although at that time it was merely National Family Caregivers Week. (It hardly seems possible to honor all that home caregivers do in a mere week, does it?) In 1997 a presidential proclamation spurred the holiday to prominence.
Family caregiving impact
Since there are as many as 90 million family caregivers in the U.S. today, it’s clear that this month is honoring a significant percentage of the country’s population. It’s also important to note that home caregivers are providing an invaluable economic service: according to Caregiver Action Network, family caregivers provide $450 billion worth of unpaid care each year.
Make the month count
Everyone who benefits from the commitment of a family caregiver should show gratitude during the month of November to celebrate that caregiver’s dedication. Maybe you already have an idea of how you can show your thanks, but if you need suggestions, consider one or more of the following:
- Give home caregivers a break. Often, a family caregiver has difficulty tending to his or her own needs. Volunteer to take over caregiving responsibilities for an hour, an evening, or a whole day – whatever you are able to do. Let a caregiver know the luxury of taking care of his or her own business, or even enjoying a quite dinner out.
- Look ahead to the holidays. Offer to do something to make the Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas season a little less hectic. Host a holiday dinner at your home or offer to shop or decorate for the holidays.
- Run errands. Call and ask if you can pick up groceries this week or take Father to his doctor’s appointment on Wednesday.
- Give a little gift. A small bouquet of flowers or a little box of candies is a nice way to say thank you; if money is really tight, offering to give a foot massage or vacuum the house is a beautiful alternative.
Home caregivers are the unsung heroes of our nation; make a point of singing their praises during the month of November, and keep on singing them all year round!