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Caregivers need support, too: Organization encourages taking 3 steps for better health

Voices of the Peninsula

Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2006

Did you know family caregivers provide more than $257 billion of caregiver services each year, helping chronically ill and disabled loved ones deal with life’s basic functions?

Did you know 66 percent of seniors who need care receive it from family members, and that over 80 percent of all home-care services are provided by family? Businesses lose between $11 and $29 billion annually due to employees’ need to provide care.

November is National Family Caregivers Month and is a nationally recognized month that seeks to draw attention to the many challenges facing family caregivers, advocate for stronger public policy to address family caregiving issues and raise awareness about community programs that support family caregivers.

It is a time to thank, support, educate and advocate for the more than 50 million family caregivers across the country. Join us this month by Caring Every Day with family caregivers. Take action by providing dinner to a care-giving family or by providing them with respite, raking leaves, transportation or even snow shoveling. There are many ways to help. The goal is to take action and reach out to caregivers.

Caring Every Day: Three words that family caregivers understand all too well. Every day they provide essential care and put loved one’s needs ahead of their own. Each day they try to balance the demands of care-giving with their myriad of other roles. Whether they are care-giving full time, part time or long distance, their devotion to the needs of someone else does not come without a price; that price may be physical, financial, emotional or all three.

Who cares for the family caregiver? Unfortunately, the answer is often “no one.” It is often up to the caregiver to make the effort to do what they know they need to do in order to keep going. So often, what they want to do falls by the wayside.

Deep down they know that family caregivers need care, too, even as they ignore signs of illness, exhaustion or depression they may be experiencing. They may not want to acknowledge their own needs. They may think taking care of themselves means neglecting their loved ones. In fact, the opposite is true. They provide an essential service, one that cannot be easily duplicated.

The Caring Every Day campaign was created by National Family Caregivers Association to make it easier for caregivers to care for themselves and their loved ones. The campaign encourages them to care for themselves and their loved ones. It encourages them to take three steps each day that can make them more confident and comfortable in their care-giving, actually improve the care they provide their loved ones and to make their lives easier.

Three steps they can take each and every day: Believe in yourself; protect your health; and reach out for help.

The National Family Caregiver Support Program is here to help area caregivers do just that. We are a not-for-profit organization in Soldotna in the Blazy Mall, Suite 209. We are dedicated to empowering family caregivers and improving their overall quality of life by providing them with information, referral, education, support, and advocacy. To reach the local office, call 262-280 or toll free at (866) 776-820.

Dani Kebschull is the outreach specialist with the local chapter of the National Family Caregiver Support Program in Soldotna.



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