According to a joint 2015 report conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, about 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older. With a growing aging population and advances in healthcare that extend life expectancy, estimates provided by Opinion Research Corporation suggest that the number of caregivers will continue to rise with two-thirds of the U.S. public expected to be caregivers in the future.
Each November the Caregiver Action Network celebrates National Family Caregivers Month to recognize and honor family caregivers across the country. Family Caregivers Month enables caregivers to raise awareness of family caregiver issues, to celebrate the efforts of family caregivers, to educate family caregivers about self-identification, and to increase support for the growing number of family caregivers. Since caregivers may become isolated from friends, family, and interpersonal interaction in their constant care for loved ones, here are 10 tips for family caregivers brought to you by Unitex and the Caregiver Action Network.
- Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone!
- Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
- Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
- Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
- Caregiving is hard work so take breaks often.
- Watch out for signs of depression and don’t delay in getting professional help when you need it.
- Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
- Organize medical information so it’s up to date and easy to find.
- Make sure legal documents are in order.
- Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!
For more resources for family caregivers, visit caregiveraction.org.