National Family Caregivers Month Highlights the Crucial Role of Family Caregivers

National Family Caregivers Month 2012 (Image courtesy of poster provided by National Family Caregivers Association)President Barack Obama has proclaimed November as National Family Caregivers Month, a time to recognize and appreciate family caregivers and shine a light on the crucial role they play in caring for our nation’s seniors and those with chronic conditions.

This observance has been celebrated each November since 1994, and observed by Presidential Proclamation each year since 1997.

The President’s Proclamation of National Family Caregivers Month 2012 was issued on November 1, 2012.

Family Caregivers Matter!” is the theme selected for National Family Caregivers Month 2012 by the National Family Caregivers Association, a non-profit organization, which first promoted National Family Caregivers Month in 1994, and continues to sponsor the observance.

The Crucial and Expanding Role Played by Family Caregivers

More than 65 million Americans and 36.5 million U.S. households are caring for an aging parent, spouse, or family member, and providing an average of 20 hours of care per week without pay, according to statistics from the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA).

“The value of the services family caregivers provide for “free,” when caring for older adults, is estimated to be $375 billion a year. That is almost twice as much as is actually spent on homecare and nursing home services combined ($158 billion),” according to 2009 statistics from the National Alliance for Caregiving, another non-profit organization, and EverCare, which are cited by NFCA.

According to a 2011 update of a report by the AARP Public Policy Institute, Valuing the Invaluable: The Growing Contributions and Costs of Family Caregiving, 2011 Update, “Family caregivers provided the equivalent of $450 billion worth of care to their adult parents and other loved ones in 2009, an amount that makes caregivers one of the largest and most overlooked pillars of the U.S. health care system.”

The statistics are staggering, and these numbers are growing rapidly as the Baby Boom Generation ages. For a detailed report on other statistics about family caregivers, their crucial and rapidly expanding role, and their urgent needs for help, See our previous report on Recognizing Family Caregivers: November is National Family Caregivers Month

U.S. Government Resources for Family Caregivers

In his Proclamation of National Family Caregivers Month, President Obama recognizes the growing burden on family caregivers and their urgent need for help, and he highlights some of the programs of his Administration to help family caregivers:

“Family caregivers have an immeasurable impact on the lives of those they assist, but their hours are long and their work is hard. Many put their own lives on hold to lift up someone close to them. That is why my Administration continues to support these committed individuals through programs like the National Family Caregiver Support Program and the Lifespan Respite Care Program, and through new initiatives like the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease. These efforts help caregivers access services, provide quality support, and reinforce their support through respite care options. Additionally, my Administration has pursued workplace flexibility initiatives that help caregivers balance their responsibilities to their employers with their responsibilities to their loved ones. I was also proud to sign the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act, which has helped our most seriously injured post-9/11 veterans and their family caregivers through financial support; access to health insurance, mental health services, and counseling; and comprehensive caregiver training and respite care.”
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The U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA), part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, in 2001 established the National Family Caregiver Support Program, which provides financial assistance and support to States and local governments. It also supports federally established local Area Agencies On Aging, which provide programs and resources supporting family caregivers.

As part of the National Family Caregiver Support Program, the AoA provides multiple links to useful information and resources for family caregivers.

Additional links to government-provided information and resources for family caregivers are found at USA.gov, the official website of the U.S. government.

How You Can Help

In his Proclamation of National Family Caregivers Month, President Obama states, in part:

“National Family Caregivers Month is a time to reflect on the compassion and dedication that family caregivers embody every day. As we offer our appreciation and admiration for their difficult work, let us also extend our own offers of support to them and their loved ones.”

How can you help? Perhaps you can lend a hand to a family caregiver in your own family, or one that you know.

Perhaps you can donate to reputable non-profit organizations that exist to help family caregivers, such as the National Family Caregivers Association, the National Alliance for Caregiving, or the Family Caregiver Alliance, or other organizations whose mission is to help family caregivers.

And, you can spread the word to seniors and family caregivers about useful resources available to help them.

Additional Information

For more news, in-depth information, and supportive resources available to help family caregivers, please browse the HelpingYouCare® (.com and .org) website.

For further information and statistics on the crucial and expanding role of family caregivers, see the HelpingYouCare® resource pages on: The Expanding Role of Family Caregivers

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Copyright © 2012 Care-Help LLC, publisher of HelpingYouCare®. All rights reserved.

NOTICE: If you are reading this article on any website other than HelpingYouCare.com, please click HERE to go to the original article. No website other than HelpingYouCare® has been given permission to publish this article.

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