Today’s blog comes to us from AzHHA’s Vice President of Care Improvement, Sandy Severson. Her focus is on National Family Caregivers Month as we head into the holiday season. She shares some of her insights about health and accessing healthcare and provides helpful resources. After reading the blog, share your experience with caregiving and resources you have found to be most helpful.
November is National Family Caregivers month and it also a time most people celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a time to recognize, honor and celebrate the pivotal role and immeasurable impact caregivers provide to their family, friends and communities.
November is also Alzheimer’s Awareness month and it’s important to stop and think about family members who care for people with Alzheimer’s. It is no accident these fall on the same month as you can imagine, they can be directly related.
So many families care for their loved ones, providing a huge contribution to the quality of their lives and to society as a whole. Most of us know someone who is caring for a family member, friend or neighbor in some manner.
For me it is my son, who moved his family across the country to be close to his aging grandparents. At the time of the move, his grandparents were in their 80’s and both were healthy, independent and living in their own home. Within a few months he noticed his grandmother was exhibiting signs of dementia and his grandfather developed a heart condition, severe anemia and was diagnosed with cancer.
A year later neither of them had the ability to drive, cook or clean, but still were able to dress and bathe themselves independently. He found himself delivering meals daily, buying them groceries, driving them to doctor appointments, to community events and to church. Now they are in their 90’s and they have both expressed a desire to die at home. He wonders what will he do when they can no longer care for themselves.
More than 44 million Americans support a loved one with their health needs or managing a disability. They struggle with the desire to honor their loved ones wishes and the ability to It and juggle the demands of family, life, work, AND caregiving. It is important to encourage them to use available resources within their communities for respite care, allowing some time for themselves to unplug and rejuvenate.
The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association acknowledge the dedication and compassion of all those who work to improve their family and loved ones’ lives. We recognize caregivers as superheroes and we should all thank them for their labors of love, not just during National Family Caregivers Month, but year-round.
Here are a few national resources I would suggest starting with as you gather the tools to manage caregiving:
- Caregiver Action Network leads National Family Caregiver Month to recognize the contributions caregivers make to American society. This year the theme is“Supercharge Your Caregiving”. Learn more about the month and activities to celebrate here.
- Family Caregiver Alliance provides advocacy, support, education programs, and resources for family caregivers and offers support, tailored information, and tools to manage the complex demands of caregiving. To find services state-by-state, policy and research resources in the National Center on Caregiving (NCC)
- ARCH National Respite Network assists in providing needed resources for families to locate respite and crisis care services in their communities through the ARCH Respite Locator.