November marks the beginning of National Family Caregivers Month, a month long awareness and support campaign for those who continuously assist someone with a chronic illness or disability.
“The services provided by family caregivers represent 80% of all home care services and are conservatively valued at $257 billion a year, more than twice the amount spent on paid home care and nursing home se…rvices combined.”( familycaregiving101.org) On average, a family caregiver dedicates 20 hours a week to caring for a family member or friend in need, whilst maintaining a job and taking care of children.
While the services provided by the family care-giver are free they do come at a cost. A study by the national alliance for caregivers found that “Nearly three quarters (72%) of family caregivers report not going to the doctor as often as they should and 55% say they skip doctor appointments for themselves. 63% of caregivers report having poor eating habits than non-caregivers and 58% indicate worse exercise habits than before caregiving responsibilities.”
The goals of this national awareness month are to:
1.Help family care givers self identify.
2.Provide family care givers with the tools to find support systems in their area that can help them find strength and solidarity in a fairly lonely and isolating activity.
3.Raise awareness and support for a group of people who don’t often have others thinking of their needs. “Caregiving is wondering why no one ever asks how you are.”(familycaregiving101.org)
To access all the posts within the Monthly Awareness Campaign please click here