It’s National Family Caregiver Month
President Biden proclaims November 2022 as National Family Caregivers Month in recognition of the love and sacrifice of more than 50 million Americans who, on a daily basis, provide crucial care and medical assistance to parents, children, siblings, and other loved ones, ensuring their health and dignity.
Whether you work in a large facility with hundreds of other people or spend your days working in a private home with just one client, you are part of a caregiving team.
Caregivers are all around us – they may be colleagues, friends, or family members caring for a close friend, family member or someone you feel responsible to help. Caregiving may be your calling, or just pure happenstance, but it remains one field rated by the public at the top of the most honest and ethical professions and the backbone of our Nation’s long-term care system; doing essential work with devotion, often at great emotional and financial cost. A study published in NeuroImage found people have a natural impulse for caregiving, and research from Child Development found people’s experience of receiving care in their first three years is integral to their wellbeing later in life. The bottom line: Caring for a loved one is the ultimate act of altruism and an important part of human experience.
Caregivers Are Not Alone
Caregivers are committed to being there for someone else by providing unpaid assistance and giving selflessly of themselves and their time. Their work is a profound service to their families and to our Nation, but they are still too often unseen, undervalued, and unpaid.
This year’s theme from the Caregiver Action Network is #CaregivingHappens, which shines a light on how caregiving can be unexpected and sometimes “just happens.” #CaregivingHappens when a caregiver utilizes all knowledge and skills to bring a better quality of life to someone, needs to leave work to join a physician appointment, has to take unexpected time off or has to reschedule personal plans to care for a loved one.
For National Family Caregivers Month 2022, the #CaregivingHappens campaign reflects your reality that often caregiving just happens. Caregiving happens when it is unexpected, unconventional and sometimes inconducive to the caregiver.
#CaregivingHappens raises awareness of your role as a family caregiver as people realize that you may be running late because you are picking up your loved one from an outpatient surgery or you are caring for a family member or loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
When #CaregivingHappens, it is not always convenient or expected and can be incredibly overwhelming. An estimated 60% of family caregivers assist their loved ones with activities of daily living (ADLs). These day-to-day activities include eating, bathing/showering, grooming, mobility, and using the toilet and we know how challenging it can be for caregivers.
Here you can listen to other caregivers describe their day-to-day activities or share your own advice.
On National Family Caregivers Month, share an extraordinary story of a caregiver’s devotion…
Are you a caregiver? Help highlight the important role of caregivers by sharing your stories on how #CaregivingHappens, tips for caring at home and around-the-clock tips.
- Recognize a caregiver you know and appreciate.
- Share advice with other caregivers.
- Provide support and share in the camaraderie of other caregivers.
Are you “in the know” about caregiving and assisting a loved one? Select the best choice. Then check your answers with a professional caregiver!
Steven (Caregiving Situation)
Steven has Parkinson’s disease and is very shaky. Although he is able to remove his dentures, he is afraid that if he tries to clean them, he will drop them. How can you help Steven?
- Split the task; Steven removes dentures, you clean them.
- Tell Steven to leave his dentures in and give him some mouthwash.
- Assist Steven in brushing his dentures while they are still in his mouth.
- Remove Steven’s dentures and put them in cool, clean water.
Andrea (Caregiving Situation)
Andrea is 95 years old and is usually very capable of caring for herself, but since the flu pandemic she has become more frail and finds daily care, especially cleaning herself after using the bathroom, very difficult. She is still recovering from the flu and sometimes experiences bowel incontinence. She is very embarrassed by this. How can you help Andrea preserve her health and dignity?
- Tell her that she smells and to go clean herself up.
- Tell her to go to her room and you will be right there to clean her up.
- Let Andrea know that you understand her embarrassment and that you are there for her. Offer to help her get cleaned up and encourage her to do as much as possible for herself.
- Discuss her Andrea’s situation with nurse or physician for possible medical interventions.
John (Caregiving Situation)
John has just returned from hospital where he was treated for a heart attack. He has become very weak and unsteady. His greatest fear is becoming incontinent. How can you help John?
- Bring him a bedpan so he does not have to get out of bed.
- Offer to assist him in the bathroom.
- Tell him to get into the wheelchair and go to the bathroom himself.
- Ask him to pay for someone to assist him.
Joe (Caregiving Situation)
Joe is moderately confused and for the last several months, has refused to take a shower. Occasionally, he gets associates to help him with partial baths. What would you recommend?
- As long as Joe is clean and odor free and prefers partial baths to a shower, then it is fine.
- Tell Joe if he does not get into the shower, you will no longer be his friend.
- Talk with other associates and family members to see if they have ideas for getting Joe to take a shower.
- Tell Joe he cannot have lunch until he showers.
Kathryn (Caregiving Situation)
Kathryn has always taken pride in her appearance, especially her hands. She has been asking to have her fingernails clipped and to get a manicure since few weeks ago. She has strict instructions from her nurse not to clip her fingernails. What do you think is the nurse’s reason?
- She does not like Kathryn and is trying to turn the caregivers against her.
- Kathryn has a history of becoming violent during manicures and has been known to scratch and bite people.
- Kathryn has diabetes. Her nails must be clipped by a nurse, physician, or podiatrist. However, you can offer Kathryn a hand massage and paint her nails with her favorite nail polish.
- Kathryn will not pay for a manicure.