Family caregivers matter – now more than ever. Why? Because caregivers are the silent heroes of our society, and their numbers are growing every year. Because there simply aren’t enough services to support caregivers in their compassionate quest to care for others while desperately trying to find some balance in their own lives.
“Now More Than Ever,” because that is this year’s theme for National Family Caregivers Month.
The National Family Caregivers Association (now the Caregiver Action Network) initiated this annual honor by creating National Family Caregivers Week in 1994. In 1997, President Clinton signed the first official proclamation, and every president since has followed suit by issuing an annual proclamation celebrating family caregivers. Eventually, National Family Caregivers Week became National Family Caregivers Month.
Here are some ways to honor caregivers, now more than ever:
- Tell a caregiver that you appreciate what he or she does in the name of caregiving. Be specific.
- Offer to spend time with a friend or loved one so that his or her caregiver can get a little break. Even a few hours a week can make a world of difference in a caregiver’s well-being.
- If the caregiver you know appreciates prayers, pray for him or her, and let the person know you did.
- Offer a listening ear. Sometimes caregivers feel they have no one to talk to about their caregiving experience. Even though you may not completely understand what it’s like, listening with concern and without judgment is often enough.
- Write a letter to your local paper that expresses why you think caregivers deserve our attention and support, now more than ever.
What else? I know there are readers out there with even better ideas. How do I know this? Because caregivers read this blog, and they are some of the most creative people I know.
Now more than ever.
For more information about National Family Caregivers Month, see the Caregiver Action Network.
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