November is National Family Caregivers Month, which is a month dedicated to recognizing and honoring family caregivers across the nation.
Every year a different theme is selected for National Family Caregivers Month by the Caregiver Action Network. The theme for 2017 is “Caregiving Around the Clock.”
National Family Caregivers Month was established to:
- Raise awareness of issues that are unique to family caregivers
- Celebrate the hard work of family caregivers
- Drum up support for family caregivers
- Educate family caregivers on how to take care of themselves.
The theme of “Caregiving Around the Clock” recognizes those who make caregiving a 24/7 job. For some individuals, the job of being a caregiver never ends, such as those who provide care to seniors with Alzheimer’s or children with special needs.
Here are a number of eye-opening family caregivers statistics about those who provide care non-stop — or ‘around the clock’ if you will.
National Family Caregivers Month: Family Caregivers Statistics
Over 90 million Americans are family caregivers, with a large number having to provide care on a 24/7 basis.
Family caregivers are, on average, working mothers of school-aged children. This can make life difficult to balance, as they have to juggle work responsibilities with caregiving responsibilities.
It can be so difficult to balance that family caregivers often have to cut back on their hours at work, take unpaid leave, or even quit jobs completely.
Six out of ten family caregivers work either full-time or part-time jobs in addition to providing care to their loved one.
One of the greatest challenges faced by family caregivers, which most people don’t consider, is managing medications.
Being a family caregiver means much time is spent managing medications. Statistics show the family caregiver is the one managing medications 70% of the time, and perhaps, even more, depending on the severity of the condition.
Since medication is something that has to be taken throughout the day, managing a loved one’s meds can be an around the clock job in and of itself.
Family Caregivers Support
Caregiving can be a rewarding experience, but we must also recognize the potential risks of being an all-day caregiver. This can include stress, poor health, and burnout.
With one of the goals of family caregivers month being to educate caregivers on how to better themselves, the Caregiver Action Network (CAN) has some specific recommendations for around the clock care providers.
Nutrition is key to maintaining the strength, energy, and positivity required to provide all-day care. Caregivers should always set aside time to enjoy a good meal.
Moreover, CAN reminds caregivers to take time for themselves in general. It helps to rest and recharge in order to provide the same level of care day in and day out.
When a caregiver is in good health, the care recipient can stay in their own home up to three times longer.
There is no doubt that family caregivers should be honored year-round, but at the very least take time throughout the month of November to recognize and celebrate these individuals who dedicate their lives to providing care around the clock.