We all know someone who is providing care for someone else. They may be caring for an older parent, a disabled adult child, or a spouse suffering from a traumatic injury or chronic illness. Even parents raising children are considered caregivers. Caregivers give of themselves without expecting anything in return, and they rarely think of themselves first.
National Family Caregiver Month is coming up in November. Over 41 million people in the U.S. provide care for someone over the age of 50. And 21% of them provide care for more than 41 hours a week, and the majority of these caregivers continue to work.
Although there tends to be an average profile for caregivers, their population is greatly diverse representing both genders and all races, cultures and ages. It is a rewarding experience for most, but also has many challenges. Caregivers experience many difficult emotions along their journey and can also experience many losses including loss of privacy, freedom, money, identity and work.
University of Illinois Extension is hosting a webinar series for caregivers of older adults called Discover Caregiving Relationships. There are six sessions and they will continue weekly until November 12. Anyone interested can still register for the remaining sessions online at caregiving relationships.
All sessions are recorded and those along with a wealth of other caregiving resources and materials can be found on our Caregiving Resources page In addition, the Facebook page “Around the Table: Family, Finances and Food” is highlighting several caregiver resources in October leading into the caregiver month of November.
We should all reach out to someone we know in that caregiver role and offer some small kindness. Can you run an errand for them? Provide a meal? Maybe send them on an evening out while you supervise? Even a small encouraging note or gift would brighten their day.
You could also share these web links with them for information they may find helpful:
- AARP Caregiving Tools
- Illinois Department on Aging Caregiver Support
- National Institute on Aging Caregiving page
- Family Caregiver Alliance
Our caregivers are valuable treasures that we need to acknowledge. Take a moment today to support them and encourage them to also care for themselves.