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Recognizing Family Caregivers
Marissa Salvesen

By: Marissa Salvesen on November 19th, 2015

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Recognizing Family Caregivers

Aging & Caregiving

family caregiversThere are approximately 44 million caregivers in the United States who provide unpaid care for another adult over the age of 18, according to a collaborative report by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP.

While the responsibilities faced by caregivers can be overwhelming, they become even more so when the needs of the caregiver go unmet. November’s Family Caregivers Month offers an ideal opportunity both to check in with family caregivers and to honor their efforts on behalf of loved ones in need.

About Family Caregivers

Caregiving is an equal opportunity enterprise. Men and women, both young and old and people from all walks of life fill caregiving roles in settings ranging from home health care to hospice. The majority of them work full or part-time and balance additional family responsibilities while providing an average of 21 hours of care per week.

When you consider the extraordinary demands on the typical caregiver, it’s no surprise that caregiver needs frequently go unmet. In fact, more than a third of caregivers report experiencing emotional stress as a direct result of being caregivers. Life as a caregiver often includes a lack of time for themselves; the inability to manage emotional and physical stress; and challenges related to the work-life balance.

Five Ways to Honor Family Caregivers

While there’s no way to completely alleviate the burdens faced by caregivers, there are ways to help lighten the load. Do you know a family caregiver? If so, consider these five simple yet significant ways to brighten her day:

1. Offer to step in and provide a morning or afternoon’s worth of respite care so she can take some “me time”.

2. Send flowers or a note of appreciation.

3. Help out with a task in her own home -- from cleaning to preparing a meal.

4. Purchase a gift certificate to a spa or restaurant or tickets to a local comedy club or movie theater for a day or evening out.

5. Encourage local establishments to offer free or reduced services to family caregivers during November.

Key Takeaways:

  • Despite playing one of society's most important roles, family caregivers are often overlooked.

  • November offers the chance to express gratitude to family caregivers -- many of whom thanklessly give countless hours of their time to loved ones in need.

  • There are many ways to show your appreciation -- ranging from a few special words to meaningful gestures.

family caregivers 

Resources for Family Caregivers

About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.