There are several days throughout the year that different organizations celebrate as Caregiver Appreciation Day - and we think that's great! Caregivers work hard every day and deserve gratitude and acknowledgement.
One of the Caregiver Appreciation Days is coming up this week! Here are some things you may want to know about caregivers, and a few ideas of how to recognize them.
Who are caregivers
Caregivers are paid or unpaid people who assist others with daily needs and tasks. Caregivers take on many responsibilities: helping with household chores, managing medical appointments and medications, assisting with bathing and dressing, and so much more.
Most older persons with long-term care needs—65%—rely exclusively on family and friends to provide assistance.
An estimated 66% of caregivers are female.
The average caregiver is a 49 year old woman, caring for her 60 year old mother who does not live with her. She is married and employed.
Although men also provide assistance, female caregivers may spend as much as 50% more time providing care than male caregivers.
How to celebrate Caregiver Appreciation Day
If you know a caregiver, take a moment on March 3rd to thank them for the work that they do. Here are a few ways to make them feel special:
1. A thank you card
Letting a caregiver know that they are noticed for the work that they do is important. It can be hard work, and sometimes it's nice to hear, "Thank you."
2. A meaningful gift
- An experience: a spa day, tickets to a show, or a restaurant gift card. Ask them or someone close to them what they might like, so that they will be more likely to use it!
- A donation to a cause they care about: perhaps the person they care for is a cancer survivor or an older adult with a disability. Maybe the caregiver sees the value of the therapy dog that visits her mother, or has a child that is really involved in a local arts organization. Making a donation in their name can be a wonderful way to honor them.
3. A respite for informal caregivers
Does a caregiver do all the cooking and cleaning for themselves, their immediate family, and for a loved one who lives alone? They may also go shopping for new clothes and household items for their loved one on top of taking them to the doctor, visiting them every day, and calling the pharmacy, doctor's office, and homehealth office, and, and, and...
Give them a helping hand by bringing a meal or offering to go to the store for items they may need.
4. Support paid caregivers
During the Whitehouse Conference on Aging in 2015, there were some strides taken on supporting caregivers - there were also advocates there who promoted doing more to support them. You can learn more about the Fight for 15 Homecare here.
Formal and informal caregivers are a great resource for those who need assistance. Here at H.O.M.E., we see how important having a community of support can be to older adults. We are happy to honor caregivers this week, and throughout the year.
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