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Thread: Nationwide Celebration of Family Caregivers

  1. #1

    Nationwide Celebration of Family Caregivers

    Nationwide Celebration of Family Caregivers -- November is National Family Caregivers Month


    KENSINGTON, Md., Oct 22, 2001 (ASCRIBE NEWS via COMTEX) -- Over 50 million people, or more than one in four Americans, were family caregivers at some point last year, according to the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA). A family caregiver takes care of, or assists a chronically ill, disabled or elderly loved one.

    This November celebrates National Family Caregivers Month (NFC Month), a time to honor, thank and support our nation's family caregivers. "This month is for everyone. There is not going to be a family in America that isn't impacted by caregiving at one time or another," says Suzanne Mintz, president and co-founder of NFCA. "Caregiving is a societal issue that must be seriously addressed."

    The theme for this celebration is Share the Caring. It attests to the fact that caregiving is often more than a one-person job. Caregiving families need to be supported by friends, family, government, employers and communities to provide the needed assistance.

    "National Family Caregivers Month is important because it allows us to recognize caregivers," says Jo Smolen of the Butler County Area Agency on Aging (PA) and a caregiver herself. "It's an opportunity to let family caregivers know they are appreciated."

    This year, NFCA is specifically focusing on the key role family caregivers play as members of the health care team. Family caregivers provide at least 80 percent of all home care services. In fact, caregivers are providing services conservatively valued at $196 billion annually.

    Our health care system has always been focused on meeting acute care needs, but with the aging of America, there is a growing realization that meeting the needs of the chronically ill and disabled requires a different approach, an approach that integrates health care and community services, that is family centered and team oriented.

    According to NFCA, there is much to be gained by improving communications between family caregivers and health care professionals, especially physicians. Positive outcomes include: better care for the patient, less stress and illness for the caregiver, more efficient use of doctors' time, reduced costs for the health care system, and more satisfaction for all concerned.

    "In order to reap these benefits family caregivers and physicians need to gain a better understanding of each other's worlds," says Mintz. "Both need to try, as hard as it is, to walk in each other's shoes."

    For many family caregivers, providing care is a full-time task. Whether caring for the needs of an elderly relative or for the needs of a young child, the stresses on the caregiver are often the same. Studies show family caregivers often suffer from feelings of isolation and frustration as well as depression at higher rates than the rest of the population.

    "Isolation is probably one of the hardest things to deal with," says Don Duckett, an NFCA member and state representative in Washington. "Since my wife is no longer able to converse with me, I have no one to talk to, and it gets very lonely. It appears as though after someone has been diagnosed as chronically ill, your friends stop coming around."

    NFC Month is a time to recognize that caregiving is more than a one-person job. It is vital for family caregivers to seek the help and resources they need and pay close attention to their own health in order to continue providing care for their loved ones. The first step towards helping family caregivers feel sufficiently empowered to take action is to build caregiver self-awareness.

    "It is absolutely beneficial to recognize yourself as a caregiver, because I think we can help each other. There is education, information and resources available out there that you may not find on your own unless you seek them out," says Evie Rosen, an NFCA member and state representative in Colorado. "Recognizing myself as a caregiver made it easier to seek out and find those resources."

    This is the seventh year the National Family Caregivers Association ( www.nfcacares.org) has sponsored a national celebration in honor of family caregivers. NFCA offers a list of suggested activities to help celebrate NFC Month. NFCA is a grassroots organization created to empower, educate, support and speak up for the millions of Americans who care for a chronically ill, disabled or elderly loved one. NFCA reaches across the boundaries of different diagnoses, different relationships and different life stages to address the common needs and concerns of all family caregivers.

  2. #2

    Thanks

    Thanks, KLD, for the post; it's nice to be recognized.

    Wonder if we'll get a Hallmark card - lol?!!

    Jackie

  3. #3

    Sorry

    Sorry, I can't take credit for this. The post was by Seneca.

    (KLD)

  4. #4
    Instead of a Hallmark card, I think that there should be a postal stamp issued in honor of Caregivers.

    I think that this is a great idea... It should raise awareness of both the burden and the importance of family caregiving in the United States.

    It would be good, if they have not done so already, for Congress to commission a Institute of Medicine study on caregiving to establish some of the economic and human statistics. For example, I wonder where NCFA got the following numbers:


    This year, NFCA is specifically focusing on the key role family caregivers play as members of the health care team. Family caregivers provide at least 80 percent of all home care services. In fact, caregivers are providing services conservatively valued at $196 billion annually.

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