November is National Family Caregivers Month and offers an opportunity to recognize, educate, and celebrate our caregivers.
Excerpt from Presidential Proclamation: “During National Family Caregivers Month, we rededicate ourselves to making sure our selfless caregivers have the support they need to maintain their own well-being and that of those they love.
One of the best measures of a country is how it treats its older citizens and people living with disabilities, and my Administration is dedicated to lifting up their lives and ensuring those who care for them get the support and recognition they deserve. Earlier this year, older Americans and caregivers, as well as their advocates, came together at the White House Conference on Aging, which provided an opportunity to discuss ways to identify and advance actions to improve quality of life for our Nation’s elderly. Through the Affordable Care Act, we are providing more options to help older Americans remain in their homes as they age, and the law is giving caregivers the peace of mind of having access to quality, affordable health insurance.
For centuries, we have been driven by the belief that we all have certain obligations to one another. Every day, caregivers across our country answer this call and lift up the lives of loved ones who need additional support. During National Family Caregivers Month, let us honor their contributions and pledge to continue working toward a future where all caregivers know the same support and understanding they show for those they look after.
2015 Theme: RESPITE
Respite – the chance to take a breather and re-energize – is as important as any other item on the caregiver’s to-do list. People think of respite as a luxury, but considering caregivers’ increased risk for health issues from chronic stress, those risks are a lot costlier than some time away to recharge. Respite protects your own health, strengthens family relationships, prevents burn-out and allows your loved one to stay at home up to three times longer.
R – “Rest and Relaxation”
Relaxing is the best way to return refreshed to handle your many responsibilities as a caregiver.
E – “Energize”
Caregiving is often round-the-clock 24/7. Respite isn’t simply “getting a few hours off.” It’s necessary to help you reenergize, reduce stress and provide care for your loved one.
S – “Sleep”
Caregivers often have sleep problems. Address sleep problems and insomnia before they take too great a toll on your health.
P – “Programs that can help you”
Respite – which can be in the home or out of the home – can be hard to find, but there are programs available to help you.
I – “Imagination”
Let your mind run free; read a book; see a movie. Refreshing your mind will actually help you be a better caregiver.
T – “Take Five”
…or better yet, take ten. Do you find yourself saying, “I wish I had just ten minutes to myself”? Don’t feel guilty. You need a reprieve – a few minutes to temporarily disengage.
E – “Exhale”
A simple breath in and then a long exhale can help you focus and increase your vitality. A few deep breaths can give you more energy, reduce stress, and lift your mood.
Information on RESPITE provided by Caregiver Action Network
Your takeaway: select one of the respite items above and start doing it over the next 30 days. It will help make caregiving more manageable, enjoyable, and effective.