Family caregivers may be men or women, young or old, but they all are giving abundantly of themselves to provide for loved ones who need them. Some 90 million Americans are estimated to provide care for loved ones with disabilities, disease or illness, or who are aging and need support. Beyond these, caregivers include parents of children with special needs and families caring for wounded soldiers.
More women than men serve as caregivers, and women tend to spend more time than men caring for those who need them. However, all family caregivers work in this labor of love expecting no pay and placing themselves on call 24-7, and this includes families with young children even when they are not special needs.
November was designated National Family Caregivers Month to provide resources and support for caregivers and recognize the importance of the work they do. The Caregiver Action Network, which chooses a theme each year for National Family Caregivers Month, encourages everyone to talk with the caregivers in their lives and learn not only what they do, but how to support them.
Caregivers of all ages are frequently under a great deal of stress as they worry about the health of their family member in need and juggle busy schedules that may involve work and other family obligations. Women especially tend to neglect their own needs as they provide for family members and many struggle alone.
This year’s theme is “Be Care Curious” and strives to provide resources to help caregivers learn about and identify options that provide the best care possible for children, aging parents and those with injury or illness. One of the biggest stressors for caregivers is ascertaining their loved one is receiving the best care possible. Asking questions and exploring options can make a difference in understanding a loved one’s needs as well as one’s own.
At Stark Women’s Center, our goal is to provide women every resource available to assure their health as well as that of family members who rely on them. During National Family Caregivers Month, take time to honor a caregiver and contact our office if you have questions about how to provide care, care for yourself or support someone who is a caregiver.