President Barack Obama, in his Presidential Proclamation of National Family Caregivers Month – November 2011 – states;
“Across our country, millions of family members, neighbors, and friends provide care and support for their loved ones during times of need. With profound compassion and selflessness, these caregivers sustain American men, women, and children at their most vulnerable moments, and through their devoted acts, they exemplify the best of the American spirit.”
Statistics from the Administration On Aging show that the population 65 and older is expected to grow from its current 13% to 19% of the total population by 2030. With the older population increasing, the need for elder caregiving will continue to increase. Family caregivers play a vital role in filling these caregiving needs. Who better than family can understand the needs and ensure the best care of their loved ones.
Family Caregivers start their journey free spirited and willing to help their loved one without knowing the dangers that arise, as continued daily tasks begin to accumulate. Before long, the caregiver may begin to see signs of fatigue, depression, and their own physical health deteriorating. Without training and counseling, this will eventually lead to the caregiver being spiteful, angry and possibly needing long term emotional and behavioral care themselves.
There is help for family caregivers who have stepped up to take care of the ones the love, Congress passed the Older American Act in 1965, providing guidance and special funding to states. Arizona offers programs through the Division of Aging and Adult services (DAAS) at no cost or very low cost to help with nutrition, multi-purpose senior centers and to provide referral services. For more information on these services contact your local Area Agency on Aging.
November is a month of acknowledgement and appreciation to the caregivers in our community who have relentlessly offered their time to the ones they love and care about without asking for anything in return.