As you visit your family this month and over the holidays, you may find that your plans change at the last minute. Maybe the location changes because your aunt’s mom had a stroke so she’s unable to host everyone at her house. You might be late for dinner because as you were leaving, your son called to say he broke his leg and needs to be picked up at the ER. Sometimes, #CaregivingHappens when you had other plans. It’s not always convenient or predictable.
This year, for National Family Caregivers Month, #CaregivingHappens raises awareness of family caregivers as people realize that caregiving just happens. A co-worker may be late because while driving to work, they got a call saying that their father had a heart attack. If you have dinner plans with a friend, they may cancel at the last minute because their loved one needs them. #CaregivingHappens raises awareness of family caregivers as doctors learn that caregivers are an integral part of their loved one’s care team.
Fittingly, November is also Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. It’s important to recognize those who care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Family caregivers are the ones most likely to notice that something is wrong with their loved one and encourage their loved one to see a doctor. If a doctor wants to know how their patient is doing, the best person to ask is their family caregiver. They are the ones who will most closely monitor their loved one’s treatment plan, notice any changes in symptoms, and can report any side effects to medication.
You may start caregiving for one reason and have it develop into something completely different. As one caregiver said, “My mother initially came to live with me to recover from a hip replacement. Recovery was expected to take 3 to 6 months. During her stay, she began to show signs of dementia and was later diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. #CaregiveringHappens. I became my mother’s sole caregiver for 15 years while being employed full-time. Caring for my mother with Alzheimer’s was very challenging, but I am so glad that I had the opportunity to care for her and show her how much I loved her. No regrets!”
“We believe that #CaregivingHappens will help show that in a family caregiver’s life, often caregiving just happens,” said John Schall, CAN CEO. “It happens when you least expect it, is not always convenient, and may disrupt plans."
National Family Caregivers Month is a time to recognize and honor family caregivers across the country. Caregiver Action Network (CAN), the nation’s leading family caregiver organization, selects each year’s theme for National Family Caregivers Month and spearheads the celebration of National Family Caregivers Month nationally. Be sure to follow and like CAN on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Caregiver Action Network (www.CaregiverAction.org) is the nation’s leading family caregiver organization working to improve the quality of life for more than 90 million Americans who care for loved ones with chronic conditions, disabilities, disease, or the frailties of old age. CAN serves a broad spectrum of family caregivers ranging from the parents of children with significant health needs, to the families and friends of wounded soldiers; from a young couple dealing with a diagnosis of MS, to adult children caring for parents with Alzheimer’s disease. CAN reaches caregivers on multiple platforms. CAN (the National Family Caregivers Association) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing education, peer support, and resources to family caregivers across the country free of charge.