Caregivers – The Unsung Heroes
Meaghan Donahue November 18 2020
Total Education Solutions is proud to recognize November as National Family Caregivers Month - a time to recognize all of the contributions of caregivers, offer them resources to support them in their role, and continue to advocate for those they work with.
The White House Proclamation for National Family Caregivers Month states “Each day in homes throughout our Nation, Americans with chronic or terminal illnesses, functional impairment, or disabilities receive compassionate care and support from family members and loved ones.” There are an estimated 43.5 million Americans who are unpaid caregivers to family, friends, and neighbors (National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2015). Caregiving in the U.S.). These heroes give so much of themselves to support those in our community regardless of what is going on around them.
Caregiving can often have a substantial effect on the life of the caregiver in more ways than one. By dedicating yourself to caring for another, one can forget to maintain their own physical and mental health, as well as put strain on their work and social life. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to enhance feelings of stress, fear, and isolation. Despite the current situation, caregivers continue to perform their roles. While safer-at-home orders are in place, loved ones continue to have doctor appointments, prescriptions that need to filled, shopping that needs to happen, and so on. Caring for a loved one is difficult in any situation and these challenges should be recognized and discussed.
Ensuring caregivers have enough resources is crucial for all involved. It’s important for caregivers to take care of their own mental health. Supporting caregivers with information and resources can help them maintain their mental health and better serve loved ones with mental illness. The Family Caregiver Alliance offers many resources filled with practical information, issues and strategies, as well as facts and tips for caregivers. There are also many blogs that offer support, guidance, and an outlet to connect with others experiencing similar things with loved ones. To help support family caregivers, Mental Health America has a free Family Caregiver Toolkit.
Let’s take a look at some facts about caregivers that Mental Health America released:
- 45% of caregivers for adults with mental illness are parents, 14% are adult children and 11% are spouses.
- The need for caregivers is expected to continue to grow as the US older adult population increases.
- Caregivers of people with mental illness are:
Often caregivers take on the role of the “middle person” between their loved one and other parties including medical teams and insurance companies. They are thrown into positions to advocate on behalf of another person. There is no doubt that the amount of data, opinions, and decisions to sort through can feel overwhelming. Many caregivers meet others going through similar situations and form their own support communities to share ideas, challenges, and offer direction to one another.
As a daughter of aging parents, I have begun to think about the types of support and care my parents will need in the next few years. I have watched friends care for their loved ones. For a variety of reasons, people choose to care or have their loved ones cared for at home. There are many things to consider and try to prepare for when possible, including: understanding how much care is needed, determining who and how that care will be provided, examining the financial costs associated with caregiving, and learning about community resources available to support you on the journey.
Caregivers are unsung heroes every day. They are superheroes that are devoted and dedicated to caring for another life. At TES, we get to see these unsung heroes in action and want to thank them for their commitment to those they care for.
Please contact us for more information. www.TESIDEA.com