They live in your city, perhaps on your street or even next door.
They serve with courage, perseverance, patience and love. Some give 24 hours a day, with days blending into weeks, months and years.
They are family caregivers; heroes quietly caring for loved ones at home.
There are over 66 million family caregivers in the United States, taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia or who have physical inabilities. The overwhelming responsibility can be very difficult and emotionally wearing on the caregiver. Without some type of support the caregiver may end up with his or her own health failing. Stress, guilt, anger, depression and withdrawal from family and friends are some of the emotional feelings that leave these people feeling helpless. Many caregivers give up employment to attend to their loved ones' needs, causing financial stress as well.
National Family Caregivers Month was established in November to draw support for caregivers across the nation. In addition, November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. In the United States alone, there are nearly 15 million Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers.
Emphasis from support organizations is put on helping caregivers by educating them on resources available to them to help provide care to their loved ones and in the process take care of themselves. Government and private companies have added many programs that help caregivers. By providing education, services, health counseling and respite care for caregivers they are making available the helping hand that is very much needed.
The Area on Aging Caregiver National Caregiver Support Program extends throughout each state to provide local services.
“The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP), established in 2000, provides grants to States and Territories, based on their share of the population aged 70 and over, to fund a range of supports that assist family and informal caregivers to care for their loved ones at home for as long as possible.”
Medicare’s website offers education and resources for caregivers offered through Medicare.
“Medicare toolkit offers informational resources that can be printed directly from this Web site and provided to caregivers. The resources are designed to help caregivers address challenging issues and work effectively with Medicare to ensure their family members and friends receive the best possible care.”
Whether it is senior centers, local church groups or community groups that reach out with hands-on support; volunteers are found in every community. Private care providers can also help caregivers with the day-to-day responsibilities, enabling them to have time to spend on their own needs. There are large numbers of Home Care companies across the nation that provide medical and non-medical care as needed by the family caregiver.
The National Care Planning Council provides a website of resources for caregivers.