Honoring The Family Caregiver

November is National Family Caregiver Month.

National Family Caregiver Month is very close to my heart. Did you know that there are over 90 million family caregivers in the United States?  They may be the only caregiver in the home.

Caregivers are twice as likely to suffer from depression or be at risk of depression. Studies show that one in five caregivers admit to postponing their own health means because they’re taking care of a loved one.

I have a unique perspective regarding caregivers because I have been the patient and the caregiver.

I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in 2008 and underwent treatment in 2009.  My husband was my primary caregiver along with my mom, mother-in-law and daughters.

Recently, I have found myself as a caregiver for a close friend and my sister.  Even though I am not the primary caregiver, I understand so much more and appreciate what my family did for me.

I didn’t realized the sacrifices my family made while caring for me when I was sick.  Both of my daughters gave up activities in order to assist me. My husband assumed most of the household duties and meal planning.

Now, my husband is very sensitive to those who are undertaking the role of the caregiver. I have noticed that he always asks the caregiver how they are doing. He told me he does that because nobody asked him how he was doing when he was taking care of me. So often, caregivers are the overlooked travelers on the cancer journey or when dealing with a serious illness.

Appreciate The Family Caregiver

Caregivers usually give so much to others that they rarely think of themselves. I wish I would have realized this sooner. Here is a collection of gifts for caregivers. Plus, I have a free resource at the end of this article.

 

 

Free Resource

I invite you to sign up for my newsletter, where you will receive my special opt-in, “Ways to Care For Someone With a Serious Illness”. This is a tremendous resource to caregivers.

Honoring The Family Caregiver

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10 Comments

  1. I’ll bet it doesn’t apply but I wonder what those statistics would be if you included caregivers of people struggling with addiction and mental illness. I know the caregiver role is often applied to those with the more “hospital” illnesses but addiction is so debilitating for both the addict and their caregiver. A loss of time, income, emotional support, etc. I understand that completely.

  2. Thank you , Laura. I needed this. There is so little support for caregivers. Even with groups for special groups. People dont realize, that is you are the only caregiver, you cant attend this groups.And by chance you get a break, you dont really want to go to a meeting. Or you cant, you have to do shopping , errands and maybe get a haircut. lol. Sometimes it would be so nice to have someone just say, go for the day, I will stay here. But in the struggle, God becomes real, I am learning to draw close to him, and be grateful for so many things. He has truly blessed me in this journey to care for my mom. There are many feelings caregivers deal with, not only theirs but that of the one they are caring for. It can be a rollercoaster of emotions. Depression is at the top. I think that is because we feel alone. This is where we find God is real and true to His Word. May we all reach out to someone who is a caregiver this month and let them know we care and they are not alone. I appreciate this article, I am going to find someone who is a caregiver also, and ask God what do to for them this month.

    1. Thank you, Tammy for giving us a real description of the struggle that caregivers have. I pray that someone will reach out to you and give you some relief and just a break, even to go get coffee. I am praying for you and your mom.

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