Skip to main content
Family Files

Celebrate National Family Caregiver Month this November

woman kissing forehead of older grandaughter

Families are often the primary source of support for older adults and people with disabilities. In fact, today in America, more than 53 million family caregivers provide unpaid care. That's an economic value totaling more than $470 billion. The caregiving 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.

While caregivers should be celebrated every day, November is a time to recognize and honor caregivers nationally, raise awareness around caregiving issues, educate communities, and work to increase support for our nation's caregivers. 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

University of Illinois Extension also has many resources available for caregivers. “Caregiving Relationships: For Those Who Care for Adults” is a 6-session program that can be provided on request by the family life educators with Illinois Extension. Topics include losses and mixed emotions; relationships in caregiving; self-care; communication; and, social service supports. These sessions were also offered as a webinar series called “Discover Caregiving” and the recordings of these webinars along with several caregiving tip sheets can be found on the Illinois Extension Caregiving webpage

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.

Author:  Cheri Burcham is responsible for family life programming in the counties of Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Moultrie, Shelby and other parts of east central Illinois as needed. Cheri’s emphasis is on healthy lifestyles throughout the life span which include family relationships, communication, caregiving, stress management and human development including early childhood and healthy aging. Her passion is to help people to be their best selves and to promote a healthier, independent older population. When Cheri is not engaged in Extension work, she can be found raising Monarch butterflies and spreading the word about their amazing life cycles and migration to anyone who will listen!