National Family Caregivers Month in November recognizes the dedication of family members who provide round the clock care to loved ones. When medical conditions demand attention, family step into roles, they are often unprepared to accept. They become caregivers instead of partners or friends. Sometimes this change occurs in an instant.
The month sheds light into their demanding days, but it also identifies their needs. From morning to night, a caregiver balances the needs of the patient and their family. They also see to financial matters and the household necessities.
Caregivers rarely have time for themselves. There’s always another thing to be done. However, a caregiver requires rest, too.
Statistics About Family Caregiving
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, an estimated 65.7 million Americans serve as family caregivers for an ill or disabled relative. As of 2020, 1 in 5 Americans are family caregivers. This is an increase of 9.5 million from 2015 to 2020.
Approximately 39.8 million or 16.6% of caregivers in the US provide care to adults with a disability or illness. 16.8 million or 14% of family caregivers care for a special needs child under 18 years old.
Family Caregiving During COVID-19
COVID-19 has shown us that we need each other now more than ever. Friends, family, and neighbors have been carrying out random acts of kindness all across the globe to help get each other through this. There has been unrest due to unique challenges such as how to care for loved ones while staying socially distant. It’s a much larger task than usual, and people who have already been caregivers are absolutely imperative.
How Can You Help?
Raising awareness doesn’t always mean telling other people. If you’re not personally a caregiver, doing by becoming involved and helping out will increase your own awareness.
Tiny acts of kindness for all caregivers can make a huge difference. To help, you could try cooking a caregiver or caree a meal, giving out personal protective equipment, reading stories through a security door, bringing in trash cans, making a grocery store run, giving away your kid’s old clothes to another family in need, baking a cake, making cookies, mowing the lawn, pulling up weeds, teaching someone a new skill on Zoom, or many other things that seem small but could mean the world to someone who is struggling. As long as you’re socially distanced and you sanitize everything, you should be in pretty good shape.
Are You a Caregiver?
If you’re a caregiver, maybe this month is about raising awareness in and around your community. Maybe it’s about raising awareness about the struggles you’re facing.
When you’re doing everything, it can be really hard to ask for help. But humans were built to give and care–we’re made to be a part of a whole. That’s probably why when one person helps another person, they get a kick of dopamine. So, by letting someone help, you could actually end up changing another person’s outlook, day, week, year, or life.
Right now is a time where, although it’s very difficult to juggle even more, it’s important to practice self-care. And if you don’t have the time or the energy, it’s time to ask for help. Remember that you’re not alone.