November is National Caregivers Month, a time when people can acknowledge the hard work that millions of Americans do every day in providing assistance to the elderly, ill, or disabled. Nearly 66 million Americans act as unpaid caregivers in some fashion, supporting friends, families and loved ones in any number of ways. As we get closer to Thanksgiving and the holidays, you might want to take some time to thank those in your life who are providing such care, even if you are not the recipient. If you’re a caregiver yourself, you might also want to take this time to focus on your needs, and think about how you can better incorporate caregiving into your life.
Nearly 30% of all American adults provide some kind of unpaid caregiver services every year. Statistics show that about 66% of all caregivers are women, and one-third of those provide care to two or more people. The average caregiver is 48, and about 51% of the caregiver population is between the ages of 18 and 49.
In addition to the younger adults providing elder care services, many elderly people also act as caregivers. The average age of a person caring for a senior is 63, and many of those providing care also require assistance of their own.
Even though millions of caregivers perform their duties each day without complaint or even recognition, there are also people who have their own lives to think about. Many caregivers provide care because they feel as if no one else is there to do it. If you know someone who is acting as a caregiver, you can often help them by offering your assistance, however minimal it might seem. Even better, offer to perform some specific basic service, such as assisting them with grocery shopping, transportation, or other tasks that you can do.
Organization and Documentation
Caregivers who spend a lot of time providing others with help often need assistance in getting themselves organized. In performing basic day-to-day tasks, caregivers can lack the time to assemble important documents. Organizing important financial and health records can be a great service to both the caregiver and the person for whom they are providing care.
Reach Out For Help
Caregiving can be stressful, and caregivers can often feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities. Even though some stress is natural when caring for others, stress that leads you to start ignoring other parts of your life, or which leads to depression, is something you need to be aware of.
If you start feeling overwhelmed, you should reach out to others for assistance. Even if you don’t have close family members who can help you, friends or people in the community can often help alleviate much of your stress by helping you perform certain tasks.
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