Chances are, you know someone who is a family caregiver, even if you aren’t one yourself. According to the Caregiver Action Network (CAN), 90 million adults — two out of every five in the entire country — are responsible for the bulk of a family member’s care. November is National Family Caregivers Month, and this year is aptly themed, “Family Caregivers — Now More Than Ever!”
The Pew Research Center maintains that 39 percent of American adults are the primary caregiver for an ill spouse, special-needs child, or an aging parent. November is an excellent time for family members who aren’t the primary care provider to show appreciation for those who do shoulder the bulk of this affirming and sometimes stressful labor of love.
In addition to the two other creative tips found in the November 2013 edition of Central Florida Health News, here’s one more:
OFFER TO TAKE A SHIFT
Not all caregivers are stressed out by their charges, but it is a common issue when one person has the lion’s share of the responsibility. Many experts recommend that those family members who are playing a minor role can step up to help out with the care of the ill or elderly family member.
For family living nearby, taking over some of the caregiving duties — even just once — offers the main caregiver some needed down time. Experts stress that family members who want to help out offer specific actions they can do — such as “I’ll pick up all of Dad’s medications this week and fill his medication dispensers.” — rather than a general offer of help.
For those family members who don’t live close enough to put in a personal appearance, paying for a home aide to come to the home to give the primary family caregiver some precious free time is an option.
story by ERIKA ALDRICH