Honoring Family Caregivers During National Family Caregivers Month

In the U.S., 39 percent of adults are providing care for a loved one. Family caregivers are more than just someone who cooks and cleans and shops for their loved ones. Forty six percent of family caregivers report that they also do medical tasks like administering medication, tend to wounds, and play an active role in doctor’s appointments. According to an AARP report, the average family caregiver is a woman in her late 40s who works full time and provides at least 20 hours of care for her mother for nearly five years. With the pressures of complex medical care for a loved one and the stresses of work and raising a family, it’s no surprise that family caregivers often put their own needs last. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The Caregiver Action Network provides a variety of resources to help family caregivers cope with the emotional challenges of caring for a loved one. And providing care for someone you love can be life-affirming. During Family Caregivers Month this November, we would like share appreciation for the sacrifices caregivers make for their loved ones every day.

An Open Letter to Family Caregivers You may not hear this very often, maybe not at all, but the work you do is important and this shouldn’t go unsaid. Thank you. You are appreciated. 

Thank you for putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own. For making sure that Mom is safe and secure in her own home or that Dad does not spend his holidays alone. Missing that school play or taking an unpaid day off of work was not an easy decision to make. 

Thank you for becoming a nurse, teacher, accountant, delivery person, counselor and entertainer when you only ever planned on being a child, spouse, or friend. You didn’t train for this, but you have learned to play as many roles as need filled. 

Thank you for summoning enough physical strength to carry the burden of two, or more. Your weary shoulders have carried groceries and moving boxes. Your hands have dressed wounds and administered medicine. And your arms provided much-needed hugs. Thank you for all these and more.

Sources: Caregiver Action Network, AARP