Gratitude and Resources for Family Caregivers
November is the month our thoughts turn to gratitude – usually inspired by a certain holiday involving turkey and pumpkin pie. We love Thanksgiving as much as anyone, but we love family caregivers even more. And November is specially designated as National Family Caregivers Appreciation Month.
We suspect most of our readers either are caregivers for a family member or know someone who is. According to a 2020 report from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, more than 20% of Americans (one in five) are caregivers who have “provided care to an adult or child with special needs at some time in the past 12 months.” That translates to 53 million people serving as caregivers – up from 43.5 million in 2015.
Here are just a few reasons why family caregivers deserve their own recognition month:
- Family caregivers often take on the role unexpectedly, and it’s often a long-term role.
- Most family caregivers have a job outside the home, and many also have children to care for.
- Family caregivers frequently report feeling lonely, stressed and unable to take care of their own health needs. They may also experience financial strain.
At the same time, family caregivers often find the work rewarding. According to the AARP/NAC report, “Many caregivers feel their role has given them a sense of purpose or meaning.” Still, family caregiving is a demanding and often under-appreciated role. If you are or know a family caregiver, here are some resources that might help.
- Read “10 Ways for Caregivers to Nurture Themselves.” You’ll get tips ranging from eating well to asking for help.
- If you’re on Facebook, join the AARP Family Caregivers Discussion Group. You’ll be able to connect with a community of over 4,000 people nationwide who are experiencing the same challenges and joys that you are.
- Visit the Family Caregiver Alliance/National Caregiver Alliance website for articles, information, and the opportunity to join an online support group. Their Family Care Navigator provides a clickable map where you can find helpful resources in every state.
To all family caregivers, we honor your dedication. Find some time this month to take a break, do something special for yourself, and rejuvenate – and then see if you can’t do that a little more often.