Monday, November 30, 2015
Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers
Did you know that November is National Family Caregivers Month?
I know, I know, it's almost December, but it doesn't matter - because the Random Acts of Kindness Initiative is something you can carry over into the holiday season.
Have you ever had to care for a loved one? Provide daily check-ins, home care, doctor's appointments, perhaps even move that family member into your home?
If you haven't, the likelihood that you know someone who has is high. Keep reading to learn about my family's story.
When I was growing up my grandmother had Alzheimer's. Long before my father made the decision to move her to a nursing home for her safety and health, he did everything for her. He checked on her regularly - at home and at the nursing home. He ensured that we had a nurse check on her for health reasons, and we were there every week - he was often there every day. He took her to doctors, he and my mom made sure she had food and was eating. They made sure that she was okay.
This on top of working long hours and providing for a family, along with raising myself and my brother, and being around for us - it was draining. And my dad worked like an ox. He never complained - and he would have done anything for his mother. Anything.
There are so many people out there doing the same thing for their loved ones every single day.
Statistics say that there are over 40 million family caregivers in the United States alone. These individuals are not medical professionals, nor are they paid for the services they provide. Of course - they're helping family - loved ones - one wouldn't think they'd expect payment. But, despite that assumption, it's important to remember how draining it can be for these individuals. These caregivers taking care of their family members have double the amount of responsibilities than is the norm. Many caregivers are boomer women who are sandwiched between taking care of both, their parents and their children. It's a tricky spot to be in when it comes to balancing everyone's needs.
November has seen the kick-off of this incredible initiative. The Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers campaign is encouraging all of us to surprise a caregiver with a random act of kindness that might take something off of their plate for them. By starting this campaign the goal is to raise awareness of caregivers and caregiving - and at the same time impacting the caregivers directly so they know that we see them. We know all that they do. They're not alone. They have support.
More info on Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers:
* Identify someone in your life of your community who is serving as a caregiver and do something nice for them. It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Even the smallest of gestures can make a caregiver's life that much easier.
* And then - share your story with us. If you submit a summary of 150 words or less that details how you made a caregiver feel special (include a photo) - you'll be entered to win a cash prize from our $10,000 pot! Amazing, right?
Almost three in ten people who are caring for someone say that their life has changed with caregiving, oftentimes for the negative. More than one in give say their weight, their exercise, or their social life has/have suffered. Emotionally, one in five say they are generally unhappier and one in three say they feel sad or depressed.
This is why AARP created a community where caregivers can connect with experts and other caregivers and can find information and tools to help them take better care of the person who once took care of them - and themselves.
* This is a sponsored post on behalf of Element Associates and Midlife Boulevard. Many of the details provided come from the campaign, but all personal experiences relayed are completely my own. *