Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reach Out to the Caregivers in Your Life

On October 24, the Center for Family Caregivers is celebrating "Job Jar" Day, a day to reach out to caregivers with offers to help around the house and provide some care of your own.

Why is "Job Jar" day so important? In the past year, one-third of workers reported caring for an older family member. 34 million Americans act as caregivers for older relatives, and that number is likely to grow as more adults face chronic disease in their lifetimes. Additionally, many other caregivers are parents and family members caring for seriously ill or disabled children. Abaout 200,000 families have unmet respite care needs in the US.

Caregiving offers wonderful rewards, but is also a demanding process. Those providing care may be responsible for not just physical assistance but also financial planning, healthcare advocacy, transportation, and many other roles. As they work to provide day-to-day care, some of the special projects that need to be done may fall by the wayside.

Let the caregivers in your life know how much you care by offering to help on October 24 (or any day). Caregiving.com offers some great ideas to get started, ranging from installing shower grab bars to catching up on laundry.

While you're at it, you might also want to write to your legislators about another problem many caregivers face: the lack of paid sick leave. Half of all working people have no earned sick time to care for their own needs, much less the needs of their family members. Yet something as simple as having the time to take a parent to the doctor could delay the need for advanced/nursing home care.

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