November is National Family Caregiver Month. Whether you know a family caregiver or you are a family caregiver, you know the sacrifices made to provide care are high. In this article, we will discuss 5 ways you can celebrate and acknowledge a family caregiver in your life during National Family Caregiver Month.
The History of Family Caregiver Month
In 2012, Barack Obama dedicated the month of November to family caregivers to appreciate the often under-noticed heroes of the United States healthcare system. The official proclamation stated,
“Our Nation’s health care professionals provide essential medical services to millions of Americans, yet they do not shoulder their responsibilities alone. Family members, friends, and neighbors devote countless hours to providing care to their relatives or loved ones. During National Family Caregivers Month, we recognize and thank the humble heroes who do so much to keep our families and communities strong.
Across America, daughters and sons balance the work of caring for aging parents with the demands of their careers and raising their own children. Spouses and partners become caregivers to the ones they love even as they navigate their own health challenges. Mothers and fathers resume care for children returning home as wounded warriors. Friends and relatives form networks to support loved ones with disabilities. All of them give selflessly to bring comfort, social engagement, and stability to those they love.
5 Ways to Celebrate The Family Caregiver in Your Life
Here are some ways to recognize that sacrifice and celebrate the caregiver in your life.
If a gift is on your heart and in your budget, here are some gift ideas for a family caregiver in your life.
- An uplifting card, note, email, text message, etc. Simply letting the family caregiver in your life know that you notice and appreciate the work that they do can mean the world to them.
- A gift card to a local restaurant or coffee shop so they can have a quick treat or delicious meal on you.
- A massage or spa gift card they can use guilt free for a bit of respite.
- An aromatherapy candle or spa kit to have a comfortable bubble bath at home.
- A book that you know they will love.
- A meal delivery subscription to make a few meals a week that much easier.
A Service or Homemade Gift
If a gift is outside of the budget there are still many things you can give a caregiver that will make them feel special. Here are some ideas:
- A homemade meal that is freezable and easily reheated. Caregivers are often responsible for cooking each meal for the loved one in their care, which is why offering them a homemade meal will be welcomed. Bonus points if it offers leftovers!
- Bake them their favorite treat.
- Offer to do a task or errand on their behalf. Whether it’s driving their loved one to a doctor’s appointment, picking up groceries for them, stopping by the pharmacy, or helping with their children at home, a bit of reprieve is a magnificent gift.
- An hour of time. Gifting a caregiver with an hour of time may be the best gift of all. Whether you hire a caregiver to stand in their place for that hour or volunteer to let them off the hook, time off is incredibly appreciated.
Lend an Ear
The caregiver in your life handles a lot. Sometimes the best gift you can offer is a friendly ear to listen to them. Ask them about their struggles, let them vent, or learn more about their loved one’s condition.
Make a Donation
If you live far away, you can make a donation to a caregiver association, research organization, or a local hospital in the caregiver’s name. You can ask the caregiver in your life what organization means a lot to them if you’re unsure of where to start.
Take Them Out to Lunch
One of the most difficult things for family caregivers is often the feeling of isolation they experience. It can be a challenge to feel normal as a family caregiver.
The caregiver in your life would likely appreciate quality time with you (a friend or family member) outside of the responsibilities of care. This is a way that you can offer a brief sense of normalcy to them.
Many caregivers in the United States do not recognize themselves in the term “caregiver.” This makes it difficult for them to find resources, support, and government programs designed to help them through this experience.
If you know of a caregiver who could benefit from support and resources, send them a link to CareNav or a California Caregiver Resource Center nearest to them. At the California Caregiver Resource Centers, our mission is to bring resources, support, and information to California’s family caregivers. There is kind and understanding support at no cost waiting for them.
The best way to show appreciation to the caregiver in your life on national caregiver appreciation day is to acknowledge them, support them, or show a bit of gratitude for the work they do. Family caregivers are the backbone of the United States healthcare system and often go unnoticed. This is why a small gesture of recognition and appreciation can go a long way.
The California Caregiver Resource Centers are a network of eleven 501(c)3 not-for-profit organizations across California that were created to be a free resource for caregivers in the state of California. We would love to connect the family caregiver in your life with their local Center, where they can talk more about local programs for caregivers, answer questions, and explain how they can best support the caregiver in your life.Share this post: