By Shawn Herz, Gerontologist
On November 22, 1997, former President Clinton signed the first presidential proclamation (Proclamation 7055), in recognition of National Family Caregivers Week. Since 1997, every president has issued an annual proclamation appreciating family caregivers. As awareness and acknowledgment of issues related to family caregivers grew, National Family Caregivers Week became National Family Caregivers Month.
According to a study by the National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP; November 2009, more than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved ones. This is a mindboggling statistic that demonstrates the incredible selfless and priceless contribution of caring for a family member.
As we observe National Family Caregivers Month, we pay tribute to the tireless compassion of family caregivers who provide comfort, security and a multitude of support for frail elders and people with disabilities. In honor of National Family Caregiver Month, PRO would like to take this opportunity to offer some wonderful suggestions that will let our amazing family caregivers feel appreciated, supported and that they are not alone.
Call and let caregivers know you are thinking of them.
Drop by with a healthy meal to share.
Offer to sit with the person needing care.
Flowers and fresh fruit are always a welcome and cheerful gift. Offer to run an errand.
Weed the garden or mow the lawn.
Send uplifting cards IN THE MAIL on regular basis.
Spend time with the caregiver: go on a walk, watch a movie, just sit and watch the birds.
If you can purchase a gift:
Hire an in home care agency for a respite break
Pay for a cleaning service
Healthy meal delivery
Contributions in honor of families coping with Parkinson’s are always welcome.
The sky is the limit! Use your imagination to show your appreciation and support to some of America’s finest heroes, our family caregivers!