November is National Family Caregivers Month... a month for celebrating the efforts and contributions of family caregivers. Family caregivers provide critical support and care to millions of older adults and to adults and children with disabilities.
What is a family caregiver? A family caregiver is one of over 43 million people in the United States who provide unpaid care to a family member, friend, or neighbor. Family caregivers perform a wide range of tasks, from basic living chores such as grocery shopping and lawn-mowing to medical tasks like medication management and wound care. Approximately 60% of family caregivers are women; 40% are men. While the average age is 49, 25% are between the ages of 18 and 34.
When it comes to relationships, caring for a loved one can be one of the most signficant interactions in our lives. Healthwise, family caregivers can be invaluable; in one study, discharged patients with family caregivers were more than 5 times as likely to follow post-discharge instructions as patients without family caregivers (Epstein-Lubow et al). Economically, the estimated value of family caregiving is enormous. At an average hourly rate of $12.51 per hour, the value of family caregiver contributions in 2013 was $470 billion dollars, just less than the value of Walmart sales (AARP).
This year's Family Caregiver theme is "Take Care to Give Care." Sure, we know that we're better caregivers when we're feeling good, but sometimes we need reminders. Here are yours:
Last but not least, check our CareSmart's "Caring for You" page. For those of you who just can't help perfecting your caregiving skills, feel free to visit our other pages as well :-). Happy and healthy caregiving!
"There are only four kinds of people in the world.
Those who have been caregivers.
Those who are currently caregivers.
Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver."
According to the CDC, 33% of Americans don't get enough sleep; in adults over 65, the percentage is even higher (50%) . To be sure, we have our reasons: work, kids, stress, caregiving... and just plain "too much to do." Researchers also blame sleep loss on depression and hormone dysfunction, on our eating and drinking habits, and on our use of technology. Medications add to the list of issues especially in the elderly.
We're warned of sleep deprivation's negative effects: impaired cognition, stressed relationships, increased chance of accidents, and decreased quality of life. We're offered tips to help us sleep that include following a sleep schedule, creating a bedtime ritual, participating in regular physical activity, and reducing stress. Unfortunately, these tips don't work for many of us because it seems like we have too much to do and too little time. We come to view sleep as a luxury that we can't afford.
Maybe it's time to approach the importance of sleep from a longterm perspective: Sleeping well may be a springboard to aging well.
Researchers have found that sufficient sleep helps us
"A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book." Irish proverb