In addition to National Alzheimer’s Awareness month, November is National Caregivers Month. The purpose of this is to recognize the challenges family caregivers face and to support them. To get an idea of the importance of caregivers, let’s take a look at what a day might look like.
Mornings: Most family caregivers are mothers with school-age children. Mornings are a juggling act of getting the kids ready for school, making sure their partner has what they need, and getting themselves ready and out the door.
Sporadic throughout the day: As much as 70% of the time, family caregivers are in charge of managing medications. The more severe the family member’s condition, the more prescriptions are likely to be involved. It’s up to the caregiver to ensure correct doses of the right medications are given at the right time.
During the workday: Nearly 60% of the time, family caregivers are working a full or part-time job in addition to caring for their family members. Often, this becomes too much, and they cut back or quit their jobs entirely.
Evenings: As with most homes, evenings are all about mealtime. Proper nutrition is critical for caretakers to stay healthy and is also essential for the rest of the family. It helps maintain strength, health, energy, stamina, and a positive attitude.
Late nights: Often, this is the only time the caregiver has for themselves. It’s a chance to take a breather and recharge. This is vital to keep giving of themselves the next day.
Middle of the night: Emergencies never seem to happen during regular waking hours. Instead, the caregiver is on call all night long to bring their loved one to the emergency room. It’s helpful to be prepared and know ahead of time what to bring — things like a list of current medications and doses as well as a walker or other assistive devices.
Being a caregiver is a round-the-clock job. It can add a lot of stress for people who are already raising families and working. So this month, be sure to thank the caregivers in your family. And if you’re in a position to do so, help lighten their load!
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