I work for a regional library with a very active community of retirees. Many of them are family caregivers for a spouse or elderly parent. We are working on an awareness campaign to honor their service and shine a spotlight on these unsung heroes.
As part of this effort, we would like to share suggestions on what families can do to celebrate and honor the caregivers in their family. We would also like to host an event for caregivers at the library.
Do you have any suggestions for either of these efforts?
Family Caregiver Month
What a great idea! Family caregivers are unsung heroes. There is little awareness of just how many people are caring for a loved one every day and how demanding the role can be.
Here are a few of the statistics on who family caregivers are:
- The typical caregiver is a 49-year-old female caring for an older family member.
- Some caregivers are younger. In fact, 25% of all caregivers are between the ages of 18 and 34.
- On average, a family caregiver spends 24.4 hours a week fulfilling caregiving duties. Almost one-quarter of them spend more than 41 hours a week caregiving.
In finding ways to honor and celebrate them, this caregiver profile can be very helpful.
A few suggestions for events to host in honor of National Family Caregivers Month include:
- Caregiver’s Day Out: Organizations could host a caregiver’s day out. Have volunteer caregivers on hand who can help with senior care. Then plan activities for the caregivers to enjoy, such as manicures, chair massages, introduction to yoga or meditation, and a dietician to share tips on making quick, healthy meals and snacks.
- Caregiver Resource Fair: People who are caregivers aren’t always aware of the local resources available to support them. Adult day centers, respite care programs, home renovators, bathroom remodelers, transportation services, home care agencies, assisted living communities, Meals on Wheels, and safety technology are just a few. You could host a resource fair and invite these organizations to participate.
As far as gifts to show a caregiver they are appreciated, you might encourage people to give:
- The gift of time: Offer to run errands, make meals, or sit with the senior while the caregiver takes a break. A helping hand can go a long way toward showing a caregiver you appreciate them.
- A spa day: Caregivers often have little time for luxuries. During National Family Caregivers Month, give the caregiver the gift of a day or afternoon at a local spa. Let them choose what they’d like to do from the spa’s list of pampering services.
- Respite care: Friends and family could pitch in to pay for respite care. It might be a few hours a week of support from a home care aide or a week at an assisted living community. This will give the caregiver time to themselves.
- A journal and pen: Caregivers often struggle to cope with the emotional side of caring for a senior whose health is declining. Journaling is one way to cope. You could give the caregiver the gift of a beautiful journal and pen to get their thoughts and fears down on paper.
I hope this information helps spark some ideas for you, Annalise! Good luck celebrating National Family Caregivers Month in your community.