What is National Family Caregivers Month?
National Family Caregivers Month in November is an annual observance that honors those who provide caregiving to family members. The month promotes honoring caregivers for what they do, as well as raising awareness of their work and increasing the support they receive.
A presidential proclamation on National Family Caregivers Month called family caregivers “the foundation of our country’s long term support system” and noted that 44 million caregivers work each year to provide assistance to loved ones.
This Year’s Theme
Every year, the Caregivers Action Network (CAN) picks a theme for the National Family Caregivers Month. For 2019, the theme is #BeCareCurious.
In a statement on the theme, CAN officials said that the theme revolves around the idea that loved ones get the best care possible. To accomplish that, caregivers need to “ask questions, explore options and share in the care decisions that affect the health and well-being of their loved ones,” according to the statement.
Among the issues they call on caregivers to care about are treatment options, research, creating a care plan and insurance coverage. They also write that caregivers should be aware of the goals of those they care for in terms of treatment. They add, “It can be hard to talk about goals when facing a disease. But these talks help make sure your loved ones are getting the care they want.”
Challenges for Caregivers
One of the main goals of National Family Caregivers Month is to draw attention to the many challenges faced by caregivers. The presidential proclamation lists a number of areas where a caregiver might work every day, including helping their care recipient with:
- Managing finances
- Administering medications
- Arranging doctor visits
The proclamation also states that by doing all the above, caregivers “embody selfless service and sacrifice.” The government continues to fund programs that support caregivers, including grandparents who are having to raise their grandchildren. The number of grandparents doing this has grown in recent years, due in part to the rising number of opioid-related deaths.
As part of the effort to raise awareness of the challenges faced by family caregivers, the National Pace Association put together a list that breaks down what caregivers do by the time of day. It includes the fact that many caregivers are working mothers who must balance parenting, caregiving and working a job. Many are forced to reduce work hours or quit their jobs entirely.
Other challenges include managing medications and being ready to handle any emergency that can happen in the middle of the night. Caregivers provide a vital service to the country. National Family Caregivers Month this November gives everyone a chance to recognize caregivers for their efforts and offer them support.