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Honor Family Caregivers This Month | Generations Home Care
A family caregiver

Caregivers are an essential part of our health and elder care system. They put in long hours to provide the support, attention, and assistance many seniors need to continue living independent lives. Caring for a family member isn’t always easy, but it can be an enriching and powerful experience. This November, National Family Caregivers Month is an important occasion to recognize all that family caregivers do to change the lives of those around them–and make sure they’re getting the love and support they need, too.

Many Americans Are Family Caregivers

Family caregiving is on the rise. Between 2015 and 2020, the number of family caregivers rose by 9.5 million, increasing from 43.5 to 53 million in total. It may seem surprising that 20 percent of Americans are providing unpaid care to a family member. However, as Baby Boomers get older, younger children and relatives are stepping in to ensure they’re taken care of. Some of the increase in caregivers may also be because more people are identifying themselves as caregivers. Increased awareness and support for family caregivers helps empower those already in that role to embrace the identity and be open about their needs.

When it comes to family caregiver demographics, many Baby Boomers are still providing care even as other members of that generation begin to need it themselves. 34 percent of caregivers identify as Boomers, while 29 percent are Gen-X and 23 percent are Millennials. The majority of caregivers are women, but not overwhelmingly so. 41 percent of caregivers are male. The average age of a caregiver is around 50. However 24 percent of caregivers are between 18 and 34, and 25 percent are 35 to 49. 

With such a wide variety of caregivers across all age ranges and genders, it’s unsurprising that there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for supporting them. It’s an unfortunate fact that many family caregivers aren’t getting the assistance they need in their meaningful yet challenging duties.

Family Caregiving Can Be A Struggle

No matter how much joy and meaning we find in caring for our older relatives, it’s undeniable that being a family caregiver makes other parts of life difficult. 45 percent of family caregivers have experienced a financial impact from their caregiving, and 23 percent say that caregiving has made their mental health worse. 

Financial and scheduling difficulties are a challenge all family caregivers contend with. 61 percent of caregivers work a day job in addition to their caregiving duties, which can leave very little time to take care of themselves. While the average family caregiver spends at least 24 hours per week on care, one in four people cares for a family member for over 44 hours a week. That’s between a second part-time to a full-time job, without a paycheck or the ability to take a sick day. And unlike a typical job, family caregiving isn’t restricted to business hours during the week. Without the ability to ever feel genuinely “off-duty,” it’s little surprise that caregiver burnout is so prevalent

In addition to the physical and mental costs associated with caregiving, family caregivers often experience an emotional toll. It can be challenging to render care to an older loved one struggling with dementia or other ailments. Being expected to offer help and comfort around the clock can quickly become exhausting when you need comfort too. That’s part of what makes it so important for family caregivers to make sure they’re looking after themselves. This applies both during National Family Caregivers Month and the rest of the year.

Family Caregivers Need Support

If you’re a family caregiver struggling to balance your life and mental health, many options are available. The Department of Health and Human Services maintains a list of local caregiver services which may benefit you. Some options may even be available to offer financial compensation for the hours you spend as a caregiver. However, sometimes all you need is a little extra help. In a hospital, a patient is attended to by a whole team of healthcare professionals, from nurses to doctors and techs. In a home care setting, however, that burden often falls onto the shoulders of a single individual. 

However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Sometimes calling in an extra pair of hands is precisely what family caregivers need to protect their mental health. A caregiver can provide respite care, taking over your caregiving duties so you can enjoy a well-earned break. From helping with household tasks like cooking and cleaning to hygiene and tooth-brushing, an in-home caregiver can make sure your loved one is receiving the best care while you’re taking some time for yourself.

Many family members feel guilty at the prospect of stepping back from their duties to see to their own needs. However, they must remember that your wellbeing is just as important as the person you’re caring for. Taking care of yourself will help you ensure your caregiving skills are in top form, helping you avoid burnout and live a happier, healthier life. An in-home caregiver can be the key to making caregiving a rewarding experience rather than an exhausting one. 

About Generations Home Care

Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.

Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.

Our Specialty Services Include:

  • Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
  • Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
  • Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
  • Veteran’s connection to care program.
  • Live-in services and couples care.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.

About the author - Josh Friesen

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