National Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregiver’s Month. This is a time to recognize family caregivers, raise awareness of caregiving issues, educate communities, and increase support for these caregivers.

Caregivers help with another person’s social and/or health needs. Caregiving responsibilities can increase and change as the recipient’s needs increase, which may result in additional strain on the caregiver. Anyone can be a caregiver. This can look like:

  • Driving someone to appointments
  • Attending appointments and helping with treatment decisions
  • Making financial, legal, and/or medical decisions on someone’s behalf
  • Paying bills
  • Providing emotional support
  • Running errands or helping with household chores
  • Cooking meals for someone who cannot
  • Assisting someone with their activities important for daily living, such as bathing, eating, dressing, or moving

Caregiving can be difficult. Many people care for another while working a full time job, care for more than one person, or have other circumstances to make the situation extra hard. While some aspects of caregiving may be rewarding, caregivers can also be at increased risk for negative health consequences.

Here are some tips for family caregivers:

  • Seek support from others. You are not alone!
  • Take care of your own health. You’ll be able to better care for others if you do.
  • Accept help from others and share with them specific tasks they can do.
  • Learn how to communicate well with doctors.
  • Allow yourself to take breaks.
  • Take notice when you’re not doing well and don’t delay asking for help.
  • Be open to new ideas for ways to help your loved one.
  • Keep medical information organized and easy to find.
  • Make sure all legal documents are in order.
  • Give yourself the credit you deserve.

Think of who you know who serves as a caregiver. Take some time this month to thank them for what they do. Offer them some help or a break. See what you can do to care for the caregivers in your life!

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