In many ways, the love, care, and support of a caregiver are constant. Caregivers work long hours to ensure the elderly or ill individual in their charge receives the social and emotional support they need each day, is assisted with tasks of daily living, receives their necessary healthcare on schedule and on time, and is given the constant attention and companionship that they deserve. Many caregivers care for a loved one (often in their home), and so they must be quite literally at the beck and call of this person in need, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The work is indeed a labor of love, and caring for someone’s most essential and intimate needs is incredibly rewarding. But caregiving can undoubtedly be taxing, and frequently the family caregiver is not celebrated in the way that he or she should be.
In November, that changes. November is now recognized as National Family Caregivers Month. It is a time to celebrate, appreciate, and admire the tireless work of caregivers and promote awareness, both of the importance of the work, and its challenges. Promotion of National Family Caregivers Month first began in 1994, spearheaded by The Caregiver Action Network (also known as the National Family Caregivers Association). The idea quickly took on national renowned, and in 1997 President Clinton signed the very first National Family Caregivers Month Presidential Proclamation. Every president since has followed in stride and issued an annual proclamation, honoring the diligent and essential work of family caregivers in November.
The month is also marked by an annual theme, and this year’s National Family Caregivers Month truly recognizes the dedicated labor of the caregiver with the theme “Caregiving Around the Clock.” With this theme, The Caregiver Action Network hopes to shed light on some little-known truths of the family caregiver and identify the particular pain points and struggles he or she faces. For example, The Caregiver Action Network has shared that:
- The average family caregiver is actually a working mother of school-aged children. The round-the-clock care that she provides extends not only to her charge but to her children, making caregiving a multi-dimensional and all-encompassing work.
- The average family caregiver also typically works at other full-time or part-time jobs to make ends meet. Their work of giving care in the home is juggled with other professional pursuits, and the limited time available to meet one’s own personal needs can pose a real strain.
- With or without any healthcare training, the average family caregiver is usually tasked with handling their loved one’s medications, keeping track of his or her medication schedule, and ensuring prescriptions are filled and taken on time. He or she also typically attends doctor visits, arranges visits to specialists, and manages the healthcare received by their loved one on a global scale. It is truly a full-time job.
- The average caregiver does not provide care and support from 9 to 5. Rather, he or is she must provide three round meals a day to their loved one, must spend quality time in the evenings, and is frequently called upon in the middle of the night to administer medication, assist with basic bodily needs, or even respond in emergencies.
It is a labor of love that’s very often fraught with its own physical, emotional, and psychological challenges. That’s why it’s so important that in November, and every day, we recognize and appreciate the tireless work of the family caregiver. At Angels on Call, we understand that the family caregiver is a pivotal member of the care team, and we honor and celebrate their important work. Talk to Angels on Call to find out more about the resources and support we provide family caregivers and learn about how we recognize our family caregivers this month, today, and every day.