Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November is National Caregivers Month

(h/t @womenshealth / www.womenshealth.gov )

While Red October has turned into Red November here in Philly (and hopefully will stay that way for a few more days!), it is important to remember that November is also National Caregivers Month. Caregivers provide help to those in need, ranging from grocery shopping to helping someone eat and dress, and many things in between.

Caregiving has many rewards, but it also involves many stresses. More than 44 million Americans (21% of the adult population) provide unpaid care to an elderly or adult disabled person. 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. About 200,000 families have unmet respite care needs in the US.

Caregiving.com has a number of ways to mark National Caregivers Month on their website. During this month, it is the perfect time to show the caregivers in your life how much you appreciate what they do. If you are a caregiver, don't be afraid to ask for help - family members and friends may be willing to help but not sure of what to do.

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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