Family Caregivers

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Family Caregivers



“Now More Than Ever” is the theme of National Family Caregivers Month in 2013.  November marks National Family Caregivers Month, the brainchild of the National Family Caregivers Association.  It began in 1997 as a week of acknowledgement during Thanksgiving, but has now evolved into a month-long celebration of family caregivers.  (American Society on Aging)

Family caregivers are growing in number and the demands placed on them are many. According to the American Society on Aging, Baby Boomers who are caregivers didn’t expect the demands to be so high:

  •  88% expressed that caregiving is more difficult than expected
  •  57% felt that caregiving took more emotional strength than expected
  •  52% stated that caregiving took more time than expected

Adult children are finding that they have to balance the needs of their own family and career while providing care to aging parents.  Younger parents often have to forego income to take care of the needs of their children, especially due to the rise in Autism and childhood disorders.  Seniors are taking care of their spouses or partners many times at the expense of their own health.  There are also family members that are taking care of loved ones who have been wounded or disabled while serving in the military.    

It is estimated that there are as many as 90 million family caregivers in the United States today.  I think many of us may typify caregivers as women taking care of the elderly or small children but that seems to be evolving.  Men are now almost as likely to say they are family caregivers as women are (37% of men; 40% of women).  And 36% of younger Americans between ages 18 and 29 are family caregivers as well, including 1 million young people who care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s.  The tasks required by caregivers have also become more complex than just personal grooming and feeding.  Almost half of family caregivers perform complex medical and nursing tasks for their loved ones - such as managing multiple medications, providing wound care, and operating specialized medical equipment.  (caregiveraction.org)

Families are also the major provider of long-term care, but research has shown that caregiving exacts a heavy emotional, physical and financial toll.  These concerns are being recognized and legislation is attempting to ease the burden for family caregivers.  In 2000, the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) was established  to provide grants to States and Territories that fund a range of supports that assist family and informal caregivers to care for their loved ones at home for as long as possible.  (Department of Health & Human Services: Administration on Aging)

The NFCSP provides five types of services:

  • information to caregivers about available services,
  • assistance to caregivers in gaining access to the services,
  • individual counseling, organization of support groups, and caregiver training,
  • respite care, and
  • supplemental services, on a limited basis

These services work in conjunction with other State and Community-Based Services to provide a coordinated set of supports.  Studies have shown that these services can reduce caregiver depression, anxiety, and stress and enable them to provide care longer, thereby avoiding or delaying the need for costly institutional care.  (Department of Health & Human Services: Administration on Aging)  These services could be available to you if the eligibility requirements are met.  If not, check out community resources for help or hire a caregiver through Synergy HomeCare of North Orange County. 

SYNERGY HomeCare of North Orange County provides respite care for family caregivers in most cities in North Orange County.  It is important for you as the caregiver to take care of yourself so that you are able to care for your loved ones.  We provide affordable, professional home care services with no contracts or minimums.  Ask about our Night Out Package or our Out of Town Package.  You can take time off from your caregiving duties for an evening or for a vacation knowing that your loved one is safe and well taken care of.  SYNERGY HomeCare provides companionship, transportation, housekeeping and personal care services.  Contact SYNERGY HomeCare of North Orange County today and get the break you deserve and to maintain a quality life for the whole family!

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