Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare
Friday, February 18th is just around the corner. This blog is to give you the heads-up regarding this important day. No, it’s not a Federal or state holiday nor a Hallmark moment but a day to honor caregivers who silently and selflessly give of themselves every day.
“There are different types of caregivers who are not just limited to the health sector. The types are: family caregiver, professional caregiver, independent caregiver, private duty caregiver, and informal caregiver. Some of them are not always paid, which is why it is essential to appreciate and thank them for their long-term commitment.
According to a report by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, caregivers spend six days in a month grooming, feeding, dressing, bathing, and walking, 13 days a month commuting, cleaning, doing the laundry, monitoring medication, shopping, and cooking special meals for their patient. Furthermore, 13 hours a month are spent coordinating visits with physicians, researching symptoms and diseases, and managing finances.
The National Alliance for Caregiving and American Association of Retired Persons reports that, in 2020, an estimated 53 million caregivers in the U.S. cared for an adult or child without getting paid for it. While most caregivers tend to one adult, approximately 15% look after two adults, and 3% care for three or more adults. The Institute on Aging reports that over ¾ of caregivers are female who spend 50% more time providing essential services than males.
But who will care for the caregivers? What’s surprising is that many caregivers are elders themselves, and the number of hours they spend caregiving only increases with time. The average age of caregivers looking after a person 65 years or older is 63 years old! Many of them report having poor health themselves.
We think the special kindness and patience of caregivers should be celebrated year-round. Their importance is especially honored on National Caregivers Day when we should be there for them just as they are there for our loved ones.
Do you know the signs of caregiver stress? Those signs include feelings of worry, tiredness, disturbed sleep patterns, loss of weight and general shifts in mood.
Know someone that’s a caregiver – friend, family member? Consider giving them a respite if possible. Can you help them with any task periodically? Treat them to some time away from providing care to care for themselves. Listen and watch for ways you can help. Acknowledge and thank them for what they do – it’s priceless!