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November is National Family Caregivers Month

Posted on: 2016 11 08

November is National Family Caregivers Month   Family CaregiversBeing a Family Caregiver is hard work. I know this from experience. Family Caregiving is both deeply satisfying and stressful. It can be physically demanding and emotionally draining. You are with a loved one but often feel alone. Then there is the financial piece: this is not a paid position and there are no sick days or health insurance. When providing this unpaid care, your own financial future is at risk since zero contributions are going into social security or a retirement fund. Family Caregiving is a full-time invisible job, and for many, it may be in addition to working another full-time job.   I want you to know that you are not alone. There are resources for you, ways to connect with others, and advocacy happening on your behalf. I am hopeful that things will get better, and as a nation we will come to embrace the hard work of Caregiving. I hope that you can take care of you. One simple thing that was helpful to me was to take a walk, every day if possible and sometimes with a friend. Here are three resources, in their own words, you need to know about. Please carve out the time to explore them. Caregiver Action Network is the nation’s leading family caregiver organization working to improve the quality of life for the more than 90 million Americans who care for loved ones with chronic conditions, disabilities, disease, or the frailties of old age.   Caregiver Action Network is the organization that chooses the theme for National Family Caregivers Month annually and spearheads celebration of NFC Month nationally.

Celebrating Family Caregivers during NFC month enables all of us to:

• Raise awareness of family caregiver issues

• Celebrate the efforts of family caregivers

• Educate family caregivers about self-identification

• Increase support for family caregivers

The theme for National Family Caregivers Month November 2016 is “Take Care to Give Care”.   Next is The National Alliance for Caregiving is a non-profit coalition of national organizations focusing on advancing family caregiving through research, innovation, and advocacy. The Alliance conducts research, does policy analysis, develops national best-practice programs, and works to increase public awareness of family caregiving issues. Their mission: Recognizing that family caregivers provide important societal and financial contributions toward maintaining the well-being of those they care for, the Alliance is dedicated to improving quality of life for families and their care recipients through research, innovation, and advocacy.   And last but not least is the Family Caregiver Alliance. Founded in the late 1970s, Family Caregiver Alliance was the first community-based nonprofit organization in the country to address the needs of families and friends providing long-term care for loved ones at home. It began as a small task force of families and community leaders in San Francisco who came together to create support services for those struggling to provide long term care for a loved one who did not "fit" into traditional health systems: adults suffering from Alzheimer's disease, stroke, Parkinson's, traumatic brain injury and other debilitating disorders. The diagnoses were different, but the families shared common challenges: isolation, lack of information, few community resources, and drastic changes in family roles.   The services, education programs, and resources FCA provides are designed with caregivers’ needs in mind and offer support, tailored information, and tools to manage the complex demands of caregiving. FCA, as a public voice for caregivers, shines light on the challenges caregivers face daily and champions their cause through education, services, and advocacy.

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