Experts offer insights and tips for honoring the caregivers in your life.
- Posted on Nov 15, 2019
November is National Family Caregivers Month, an annual reminder to acknowledge the work of the millions of people across the country providing unpaid care to a loved one.
It’s a crucial month for caregivers, according to Deb Kelsey-Davis and Kelly Johnson, founders of Nourish for Caregivers, a national program that provides caregiver curriculum to churches.
“A caregiver oftentimes will not recognize that what they're doing, whether it's taking a parent to a doctor's or accompanying a spouse to his, is caregiving,” Johnson told Guideposts.org. “So this is a time to help raise awareness of this invisible workforce, as well as give others an opportunity to acknowledge their neighbor who's working so hard as they're going through this caregiving journey.”
Nourish is celebrating this month by giving away a weekly gift to caregivers such as a journal or daily affirmations. They also created a Caregiving Bill of Rights, a booklet full of tips to help caregivers practice self-care and set boundaries.
Lakelyn Hogan, Gerontologist and Caregiver Advocate at Home Instead Senior Care, also offered several ways people can support family caregivers.
“Be understanding,” Hogan told Guideposts.org in an email. “Many family caregivers are balancing a marriage, career, raising their children AND providing care for an aging parent. I’d also encourage people to provide opportunities for respite care to allow for family caregivers to take care of themselves—they need a break.”
Home Instead, an organization dedicated to helping seniors live fulfilling lives at home, has created many resources and programs for family caregivers. Hogan pointed out the 40/70 Rule, “a program launched in 2008 to start important conversations early, before a crisis occurs,” according to the organization’s website.
“[This] was created to promote family conversations between adult children (about 40 years old), and aging parents (about 70),” Hogan said. “Topics for conversation starters range from aging, finances, health, and driving.”
Home Instead also created the 50/50 Rule programs and services for siblings caring for an aging parent.