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The month of November is National Family Caregivers Month! Our state’s family caregivers are the unsung heroes of our medical system, and this month is dedicated to recognizing your effort and sacrifice. So here’s to you, the caregivers. The ones who lovingly bathe, feed, offer comfort, transport, and companionship to our elderly and disabled neighbors. We see you and we celebrate you. 

National Family Caregivers Month was established in part as an effort to raise awareness to those who offer unpaid care to loved ones of their classification as family caregivers. If that sounds like you (or someone you know), then you are a family caregiver.

For the family caregivers among us, here are some ideas for how to celebrate this month.

  1. Give yourself permission to rest. For many family caregivers, the moments of downtime for their loved one become an opportunity to get other tasks done. But this time does not always need to be productive.

    Allow yourself permission to take a nap, read a book, watch a movie, or whatever you find relaxing and rejuvenating. Claim back some of your time where you can this month and remember that you matter too.
  2. Find a community that understands. For many, it’s difficult to find people in your community that understand what you’re going through. However we can assure you, no matter how it feels, that you aren’t alone.

    Various CRC locations have support groups that meet regularly (both generic care and ailment-specific) in multiple languages to talk about caregiving and offer support and community. This is the month to give yourself the time and space to (virtually) pop into a meeting and see what it’s all about.
  3. Take the caregiver pledge. The caregiver pledge is a ceremonial pledge that, in summary, encourages you to take care of yourself (in addition to, and in support of your loved one) with patience, grace, and kindness.

    By taking the pledge we hope you’ll feel empowered in your role and the responsibilities you face. It’s your right to take care of yourself too.
  4. Accept the help and recognition you deserve. According to a study conducted by AARP, “9 percent of caregivers have no one to talk to about private matters, and 20 percent have no one to call for help.” This is a large part of what National Family Caregivers Month is aiming to fix. There are many free resources available to support you in California – we recommend that you take time this month to connect with your local CRC and learn more about them.
  5. Share your story with others. If you feel comfortable doing so, sharing your story with friends or family members (whether it’s through a support group, social media, or in-person) can be both cathartic for you and helpful for others in a similar situation.
  6. Take yourself out for pampering. Whether that means buying a scented candle, picking up your favorite take out, getting your nails done, or taking a bubble bath. Whatever pampering means to you, you deserve it.

    Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s necessary. Providing the best possible care for your loved one means that you need to be healthy too – both mentally and physically.

Closing Thoughts

Whether you’re already providing informal home care to a loved one in your life, or you’re working through a doctor prescribed professional home care situation, one thing is certain: it isn’t easy.

National Family Caregiver month was designed to give you an opportunity to recognize the importance of the role you’re doing, take a deep breath, and take care of yourself too.

Click here to connect with your local CRC for support through and beyond National Family Caregiver Month.

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