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Salute to Family Caregivers

Salute to Family Caregivers

Greetings one and all! I hope you are doing well and loving life. Once again, I invite you to take a deep breath, pour a cup of coffee or hot tea, and relax. November is National Family Caregivers Month. Consequently, I would like to take this opportunity to salute and to honor family caregivers—past, present, and future. No need to be demure or to deflect the accolades offered by those who witness the compassionate care you offer to family and friends. Your efforts are worthy of recognition, praise, and appreciation. Over the years I considered caring for my family a sacred honor. However, there were days when I was running on fumes. I am sure you know the feeling! So, perhaps a “thank you” is just what you need to hear today to keep going.

Whether debilitated by the flu, a chronic condition, an accident, or terminal illness, most people rely on family and/or friends for care. Family caregivers are an essential element of any plan of care. I am amazed when comparing my initial experience as a caregiver forty years ago to that of caregivers today. Due to recent changes within our health care system and insurance coverage, family caregivers assume the lion’s share of responsibility for all aspects of caregiving. Family caregivers engage in everything from activities of daily living to negotiating medical bills with insurance companies. The daunting challenge of caregiving is made even more challenging when you consider that few family caregivers have prepared in advance for this role. Family caregivers become masters at on-the-job training!

Over the past ten years, I have presented hundreds of educational programs on various aspects of caregiving. Listening to the concerns and stories of both personal and professional caregivers, I have no doubt that family caregivers will be required to assume even more responsibility in the years to come. Without unlimited financial resources to pay for professional care, we will rely on our family and friends for the care that we need and desire.  

Although I am known to be an optimist, I am realistically optimistic. As such, I recognize that the journey of caregiving is often physically fatiguing, emotionally draining, spiritually challenging, and financially devastating. Consequently, recognition of the contributions of family caregivers is profoundly important. So today, I thank family caregivers for their countless acts of kindness and their commitment to companion those in need. By the simplest acts of care—a sip of water, a warm blanket, your presence—you honor and serve your family in meaningful ways. As a family caregiver, I have no doubt that you feel needed. To say the very least, right? Additionally, my fervent prayer is that you also feel appreciated. THANK YOU for who you are and what you do. Your compassionate presence makes an important difference in the world.

I look forward to the ongoing conversation. If you have specific questions or concerns related to your caregiving experience, I would love to hear from you. Until the next posting, I wish you and yours countless blessings…jane

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