National Family Caregivers Month

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Many Americans find themselves caring for their elderly parents. Today 29% of the entire population in the United States (65 million) provides care for another person.  

Individuals in need of care would find it difficult to live in their homes if it were not for the support of their family members and caregivers. Caregiving is definitely a labor of love and with it comes a great deal of physical, psychological and financial hardship.  Many caregivers often put their own health and well being at risk while caring for loved ones.There is help.

The National Family Caregiver Support Program is designed to help individuals care for themselves and loved ones in their own home. It also provides assistance with their caregiving responsibilities and information on counseling, training, support groups and respite care for caregivers. November is the perfect time to pay tribute to caregivers across the country and provide them some advice on how to lessen the burden.

  1. Ask for help: The first thing caregivers must do is to acknowledge that they need help. It has been shown that friends, neighbors, and co-workers are more than happy to help caregivers once they understand the situation and the burden of caregiving.

  2. Do research and plan ahead: There are plenty of professional and volunteer services available in every region of the country.  Information and support provided by your local Area Agency on Aging, a federally mandated organization staffed by professionals who know every elder program and service in your area. Find support groups that can offer helpful insights to cheer you on, or simply provide a sympathetic set of ears

  3. Take care of yourself: Preserving you own health is just as important as caring for someone else's.  Don't forget to take some time for yourself both physically and mentally.  Be sure to know the caregiver's bill of rights.

  4. Get organized: Form a support network and make sure everyone involved with the care of your loved one is well informed. Create a data file with the help of family members of all of their essential information and be sure it is accessible whenever you need it.

The month of November is designated National Caregivers Month to honor the millions people that care for family members and give endlessly to provide care and support and most importantly let them know they are not alone. Resources for Caregivers:National Family Caregivers Association at www.caregiveraction.org or 800-896-3650 celebrates 18 years of speaking up for family caregivers in 2011. National Alliance for Caregiving at www.caregiving.org  includes publications, resources, events, and legislative updates. Eldercare at www.eldercare.com is a noncommercial site with essays on “Home Care vs. Retirement Homes” and “Assisted Living.” Eldercare Locator at www.eldercare.gov or 800-677-1116 weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET; this service from the U.S. Administration on Aging connects users to state and local resources.