by Kathy Greenlee, Administrator, Administration for Community Living and Assistant Secretary for Aging
Each November, we pause as a grateful nation and give thanks. Among the many blessings for which we are most thankful are the more than 65 million family caregivers who provide assistance to friends and loved ones, making it possible for them to remain at home and in the community. At no other time in our history has the number of caregivers been greater. And as the baby-boom generation continues to age, this trend will continue to make understanding and supporting the needs of family caregivers even more important.
Since National Family Caregivers Month was first celebrated 16 years ago, our understanding of the experiences, needs and preferences of family caregivers has grown exponentially. Today, research informs us about the prevalence, diversity, and impact of family caregiving, and it points out issues that require creative and flexible solutions. We know that family caregivers often provide complex medical care for their loved ones and need to be closely involved in their transition from one care setting to another. How do we ensure that caregivers have the knowledge and support they need to be able to do these tasks skillfully and confidently and so that they are able to ensure smooth transitions?
Family caregivers juggle multiple commitments, including jobs and relationships with other family members, while at the same time going to extraordinary lengths to provide care to a family member or loved one. We know caregivers often sacrifice their own physical, financial, and emotional well-being. How do we develop and support an array of programs and interventions that meet family caregivers where they are and support them in all their essential roles?
ACL’s mission is to maximize the independence, well-being, and health of older adults, people with disabilities, and their families and caregivers. With this in mind, each day, ACL touches the lives of thousands of families and family caregivers across the country through the programs we administer and through the partnerships we’ve developed.
Some examples include:
This November, I encourage you to reach out to family caregivers you know and thank them for all they do on behalf of their loved ones every day. Let them know that, more than ever, what they do matters and is appreciated.
To learn more about caregiver support programs and services, as well as research on family caregiving, please visit these websites:
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Last Modified: 4/2/2014