Lansing, MI – In support of the state’s estimated 1.4 million family caregivers, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed November as Family Caregiver Month.
Family caregivers provide a broad range of assistance for older adults, service members, veterans, people with disabilities and those with serious and/or chronic health conditions.
Caregiving provides tremendous benefits to the health and well-being of others, and yet many family members don’t think of themselves as caregivers. The opportunity to provide care to a loved one can be rewarding and a source of connection that is often taken on without hesitation and it often requires sacrifice.
“Celebrating family caregivers enables all of us to raise awareness of family caregiver issues, highlight their efforts, promote caregiver education and increase support for family caregivers,” said Elizabeth Hertel, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director.
“The majority of home-based care for older adults and persons with disabilities is provided by family members and friends,” said David LaLumia, executive director of the Area Agencies on Aging Association. “These caregivers voluntarily assume this responsibility often with little or no training or support.”
“The family caregiver performs one of the most personal and difficult jobs known to all of us,” said Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging chair Robert Schlueter. “Those who have performed this work really know how hard and important it is, and what value it brings their families. Without this workforce, our country would not have the capacity to care for its aging population. The commission joins the Governor in recognizing these loving and important caregivers.”
Resources for family caregivers such as support groups, toolkits and workshops are available through Area Agencies on Aging, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, advocacy organizations and community-based services.
The National Caregiver Action Network provides these ten tips for caregivers:
- Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone.
- Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
- Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
- Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
- Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
- Watch out for signs of depression and don't delay getting professional help when you need it.
- Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
- Organize medical information so it's up to date and easy to find.
- Make sure legal documents are in order.
- Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is.
For more information on supporting caregivers, visit Michigan.gov/agingservices.