November is National Family Caregiver Month
Submitted by Lori Eberly, Comfort Keepers
Rosalyn Carter said it best: “There are only four kinds of people in the world – those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers”.
Becoming a family caregiver can happen abruptly or creep in slowly unnoticed until one day you realize you are caring more for someone else than you are for yourself – constantly juggling work and family life with doctor appointments, meal preparation and any number of daily care activities for a loved one. According to the National Family Caregiving Association (NFCA), over 50 million family members are currently providing caregiving services. According to National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA), family caregivers provide "80% of our nation's long-term-care services. Currently, family caregivers provide over $306 billion annually on "free caregiving services" to their loved ones."
With November being National Family Caregivers Month, Comfort Keepers® owner Lori Eberly is encouraging you to thank and support your family caregivers.
“Many family caregivers find it hard to communicate with healthcare professionals, are financially overburdened and feel isolated and overwhelmed,” said Eberly, who has owned Comfort Keepers in Salisbury since 2001. “Compound those feelings with an inability or unwillingness to care for themselves and most family caregivers face their own negative health consequences.”
The NFCA also states that the extreme stress that many caregivers experience has been shown to affect their immune systems making them more prone to chronic illnesses. It can cause premature aging and in some cases result in death. The NFCA offers the four following tips:
Believe in Yourself: NFCA stresses the importance of trying to maintain a positive attitude by recognizing your strengths and limitations. By believing in yourself and recognizing your strengths and limitations, it will go a long way in your ability to set goals and boundaries for yourself and for your loved one.
Protect Your Health: It is critically important to maintain your physical and emotional health and well-being - if you don't who will? Your good health is the greatest gift you can give your loved one and your entire family.
Reach Out For Help: reaching out and asking for help is never a sign of weakness, rather it demonstrates strength and a keen awareness of your own abilities and sense of self.
Speak up for your Rights: NFCA encourages and stresses the importance of arming yourself with vital information regarding your loved one's diagnosis and treatment options. Having the proper information is the gold standard in achieving the ability to advocate for your loved one and developing strong self-advocacy skills. By keeping the goal of receiving quality healthcare and making it a priority, you can avoid future medical problems and create a superior quality of life for all involved.
“What many family caregivers don’t realize is that if they don’t take care of themselves, who will be around to care for their loved ones?” said Eberly. “There should be a backup plan. If you are not well, who will fill your shoes, whether temporarily or permanently?”
That is where programs like the Family Caregiver Respite Program, Veteran’s Administration Respite Program, and companies like Comfort Keepers and/or Abundant Living Adult Day Services can help. By providing respite care, family caregivers can take time off to rest, recuperate and take care of errands and appointments for themselves. “Those breaks are vital to maintaining mental, physical and emotional health,” added Eberly.
Eberly also encourages family caregivers to look for other sources of relief, including the NFCA Web site – www.familycaregiver.org.
For information on either the Family Caregiver Support Program or the Veteran’s Administration Respite Program, call Comfort Keepers at 704-630-0370.
About Comfort Keepers®
Comfort Keepers provides in-home care on an hourly, daily, weekly or live-in basis for individuals needing assistance with activities of daily living. Services are tailored to the individual needs of each client and, in the case of seniors, allow them to continue living safely and in the privacy of their own home. Care duties include companionship, meal preparation, light housekeeping, grocery shopping, transportation for errands and appointments, laundry, recreational activities and more. Comfort Keepers has over 700 independently owned and operated offices worldwide. For more information, visit www.comfortkeepers.com.