Everyday, 65 million family caregivers in this country fulfill a vital role taking care of a chronically ill family member. Along with doctors and specialists, family members are an important part of the caregiver team. Family caregivers are the most familiar with their sick loved ones’ medicine regimen… they are the most knowledgeable about the treatment regimen… and they understand best the dietary and exercise regimen. They are often there, in the care-giving trenches, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week… often without a vacation or break.
Every year since 1997, presidents have signed proclamations designating November as National Family Caregivers Month. Coordinated by the National Family Caregivers Association, November is set aside as a time to thank, support, educate, and empower family caregivers. The goal is to raise awareness of family caregiver issues, celebrate the efforts of family caregivers, and increase support for these unsung heroes.
In 2009’s National Family Caregivers proclamation, President Barack Obama said:
“The true strength of the American family finds its roots in an unwavering commitment to care for one another.”
Top Ways to Celebrate National Family Caregivers Month 2011
According to the National Family Caregivers Association, you can participate in National Family Caregivers Month, too, even if you are not a caretaker yourself.
- Offer a few hours of respite time to a family caregiver so they spend time with friends, or simply relax.
- Send a card of appreciation or a bouquet of flowers to brighten up a family caregiver’s day.
- Encourage local businesses to offer a free service for family caregivers through the month of November.
- Help a family caregiver decorate their home for the holidays, or offer to address envelopes for their holiday cards.
- Offer comic relief! Purchase tickets to a local comedy club, give a family caregiver your favorite funny movie to view, or provide them an amusing audio book to listen to while doing their caregiving activities.
- Find 12 different family photos and have a copy center create a monthly calendar that the family caregiver can use to keep track of appointments and events.
- Offer to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for a caregiving family in your community, so they can just relax and enjoy the holiday.
- A United States postage stamp honoring the more than 50 million family caregivers in America is officially “under consideration” by the U.S. Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee. Sign the petition at www.thefamilycaregiver.org and ask others to sign the petition letter.
- Help a family caregiver find information and resources on the internet or to locate a local support group.
At HensonFuerst, we recognize the love, dedication, and self-sacrifice of family caregivers. They get no external rewards for their hard work. All rewards are internal, the satisfaction of knowing that a family member in need was given the best, most considerate care possible. It isn’t an easy road to walk, but along the way, the view can be beautiful.
This month, during National Family Caregivers Month, we wish peace and strength to all family caregivers.