November: National Family Caregivers Awareness
November is National Family Caregivers Month. This month is aimed at “providing resources for self-care, advocacy, and de-stressing for our caregivers” (National Today, 2017).
Chronic illness has been increasing dramatically over the past decade. According to NFCR, “about 40% of the population is affected by a chronic illness” (Ciupka, 2018). Diagnosis of an illness is accompanied by stress, anxiety, and fear. Having a dedicated loved one by your side shows that you are not alone through your illness. It is estimated that “more than 34 million Americans currently act as an informal and unpaid caregiver for a family member. Support systems are important to the overall well-being of a caregiver. As it relates to caregivers, “47% of people feel intense anxiety and 42% experience depression” (Ciupka, 2018). It is important that caregivers have the resources available to cope with having to take care of a family member because if they do not have the proper resources available, they would experience severe depression, stress, and burden. Nearly “20% of people in America experience mental illness” (NAMI, 2020). It is important that in order to maintain a functional life, that people seek assistance from individuals and are equipped with the tools to take care of themselves during stressful situations. The most important key takeaway for being a caregiver is realizing that your well-being is just as important as your loved one.
Tips for Caregivers:
Take care of your mental and physical well-being
Reach out for help
Remain open-minded to receiving help from doctors
Keep your energy supercharged
Eat a balanced diet
Individuals can reference the Caregiver Action Network in order to receive helpful tips to improve caregiving.