National Caregivers Month

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National Caregivers Month recognizes the country’s greatest unsung heroes.

Each year, more than $450 billion worth of unpaid caregiving is provided to family members with chronic illnesses, disabilities or seniors who can no longer care for themselves.  President Obama has declared November to be National Family Caregivers Month to recognize the over 90 million people who perform supportive tasks to care for loved ones—often around the clock.  It may mean getting up in the middle of the night to help with bathroom needs, taking individuals to countless doctor appointments, bathing, feeding, administering medications and even such complex duties as operating medical equipment.

According to the Caregiver Action Network (CAN), two adults out of every five are family caregivers, or 39% of all Americans.  This figure has exploded from 30% in 2010, largely because there are more Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease who require constant care.  Other increasing groups that need caregiving attention include special needs children and adults (cared for in most cases by their parents), as well as wounded veterans who suffer from severe brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorders and other serious infirmities.

The number of men who are caregivers is now almost equal to women.  Roughly 37% of men and 40% of women serve in this capacity.  Many are only in their 20’s; the average age of a caregiver is 48.

Caregivers do all of this out of love, and a sense of obligation to be there for their loved ones for better or worse.  The number of hours unselfishly given to helping others by caregivers is staggering.  Some sacrifice much of their own active lives and healthy years to assist others long-term.

Organizations such as CAN and the Administration on Aging have established programs designed to provide ongoing support for caregivers.  There are respite care opportunities, designed to give caregivers a short break from the rigors of their work.  Furthermore, these organizations make available counseling, training and support groups for caregivers.  The AoA funds the Eldercare Locator, which offers caregiver assistance services (

This year’s theme for National Caregivers Month is “Family Caregivers—Now more than ever.”  If you know someone who is a caregiver, please take the time to honor them in any way possible.  Suggestions might be arranging for a special evening out, flowers, e-card or greeting card.

Sometimes the best gift to a family caregiver is respite. Home Care Assistance is here to help with the in-home caregiving needs of your loved one.  We provide compassionate and positive in-home care either hourly or full time. .  You, in turn, can enjoy more time with your own family or other family members.  Remember, you don’t have to do it alone.

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