November is National Family Caregivers Month. Families are the main source of support for many older adults. Family caregivers perform an extremely important and valuable, yet challenging role. It’s estimated that upwards of 53 million family caregivers provide unpaid care to relatives, valued at more than $470 billion per year in economic terms.
Many of these caregivers are women and most them care for adults age 65 and older. Close to one third of caregivers spend at least 20 hours per week providing care. As the US population ages, the need for caregivers is predicted to grow accordingly.
Caregiving can be stressful and emotionally, physically, and financially taxing. The challenging of caring for someone can sometimes lead caregivers to neglect their own health and well-being. It is important that caregivers look after themselves as well as the person they’re caring for. Caregivers cannot do this alone. Caregivers need the support of those around them to stay healthy. If you aren’t a caregiver but know someone who is, support that person. Follow these tips for supporting caregivers:
- Be open about offering support
- Assist with errands, chores, and any other tasks
- Provide a sympathetic ear and be supportive emotionally and socially
- Check in with them and help them manage their own healthcare needs, including encouraging them to seek mental health support if need be
- Be flexible with them
Click here to learn more about resources for caregivers in California.