Did you know it’s National Family Caregivers Month? National Family Caregivers Month recognizes and honors family caregivers.

As any caregiver can attest, being a caregiver is a role that has come out of necessity.

What Is National Family Caregivers Month?

National Family Caregivers Month raises awareness, educates communities, and increases support for caregivers.

President Clinton signed the first National Family Caregivers Week Presidential Proclamation in 1997, and every president since then has issued an annual proclamation recognizing and honoring family caregivers each November.

(Unrelated fun fact: On February 29, 2000, President Clinton also signed the first Presidential Proclamation declaring March Colorectal Cancer Awareness month.)

Why Is National Family Caregivers Month Important?

The reality is this: Caregiving is exhausting. It’s mentally taxing. It’s stressful. So then, what’s the purpose, and why is National Family Caregivers Month important?

It’s important to celebrate caregivers during National Family Caregivers Month. Caregivers provide support, but also caregivers need support.

Caregiving is carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders while trying to keep everyone’s spirits up. At times, caregiving feels like being the captain of a sinking ship. It is believing in a cause and keeping your family upbeat during one of the worst periods of your life. 

In the words of Pat Summitt, “It is what it is, but it will be what I make it.” Caregivers believe they can make it good.

By keeping a positive attitude, caregivers are able to pull and hold together everyday life. Theirs is an important job, and they’re not seeking accolades or praise. They are merely trying to keep their family together, while keeping themselves glued together as well.

Making Caregivers a Priority

Caregiving is a careful balancing act of taking care of someone they love, while keeping themselves mentally, physically and emotionally healthy as well.

When one side of the scale starts to tip, it is usually in favor of the person being cared for. Unfortunately, it is extremely common for caregivers to put themselves and their needs last. 

That’s why National Family Caregivers Month is important! Because organizations like Caregiver Action Network know the tremendous pressure caregivers are under, which is why their mission is to promote resourcefulness and respect for the more than 90 million family caregivers across the country. CAN provides resources, toolboxes, tips, and support for caregivers.

“There are only four kinds of people in this world: Those who have been caregivers; those who currently are caregivers; those who will be caregivers; and those who will need caregivers.”

–Rosalyn Carter

How Do We Celebrate Caregivers During National Caregiver Month?

One of the most difficult caregiver issues is asking for help. Caregivers are “I can handle it” people. If you had to pick a team in life, you would pick the caregivers. They’re the people who will take care of you. They’re the ones who get things done. Caregivers make sure your needs are being met. 

So, how do we celebrate caregivers during National Caregiver Month? 

One of the best ways to celebrate a caregiver during National Caregiver Month is to give a Meal Train gift. 

By providing a Meal Train gift, you’re helping a caregiver do four less things:

  • Plan the meal
  • Shop for the meal
  • Prep the meal
  • Cook the meal

Many hands make the work light.

It feels so good to open a door and welcome into your home the gift of a meal that all you have to do is serve and eat!

Another gift for a caregiver is checking in on them. Whether you call, text, or write a note or message, you can comfort a caregiver when you let them know you’re thinking of them and they’re not alone.

Taking Time for your Caregiving Self

Caregivers, you do deserve to be celebrated and appreciated during National Family Caregivers Month. Caregivers may want to shrug off praise and celebration around them, but caregivers: Here are tips for taking care of you.

Tips for Taking Care of You

It is really difficult to find a few minutes, much less a few hours to take care of yourself. But caregiving is very much like being a passenger on a plane where you need an oxygen mask: You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. You don’t want to suffer from caregiver burnout.

  1. Take time to honor your strength. You and your family have been through trauma. 
  1. Be sure to take care of yourself and keep up with your own doctor appointments, exams, and screenings. 
  1. Do the thing that brings you joy while also practicing self-care. 
  1. Accept help even though it may feel strange or uncomfortable.
  1. Take a break. You don’t work at your job 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even caregivers need a break.

Caregiver Month: Caregivers Need a Helping Hand, Too!

It really does take a village to get through life. This village extends beyond raising kids. It includes taking care of parents or friends. The village includes caring for someone with cancer or another disease who needs our help. Celebrating caregivers during National Family Caregivers Month is one way to acknowledge the hard work of the caregiver in your life or your community.

Celebrate caregivers with a gift of a meal or even checking in with one. You won’t regret it.

Be sure to take advantage of Fight CRC’s resources for friends and family. Listen to our podcast to learn more about caregiver burnout and how to avoid it. Check out a blog posts from a caregiver who know what you’re going through.

No one fights alone. We are fighting alongside you. 

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