National Family Caregivers Month

Kansas City Hospiceby Gloria Soendker RN, Director of Clinical Services for Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care

November is National Family Caregivers Month.

 “Across America, daughters and sons balance the work of caring for aging parents with the demands of their careers and raising their own children. Spouses and partners become caregivers to the ones they love even as they navigate their own health challenges… All of them give selflessly to bring comfort, social engagement, and stability to those they love. 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.” -former president Barach Obama

Did you know?

  • Family caregivers provide a staggering 90% of long-term care in America. (The National Academy of Medicine)
  • More than 65 million Americans care for their aging or disabled loved ones on a yearly basis. (National Alliance for Caregiving)
  • The value of the unpaid care these 65 million caregivers provide is estimated to be worth $375 billion.
  • Nearly half of working caregivers report that caregiving expenses have depleted most — or even all — of their savings.

Care for yourself first

If you’re not keeping yourself happy and healthy, it’s doubtful that you will be able to do your best for your parent or senior loved one.

  • Keep your doctor and dentist appointments.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Sometimes a quick nap can give you extra energy.
  • Eat right, or at least eat something.
  • Find ways to let off steam.
  • Enjoy one of your hobbies.
  • Watch movies that make you smile.
  • Allow your friends to visit.

Ask for help

You know all those people who have offered to help? Call them back. They don’t know what you truly want or need, so ask.

  • Can you come vacuum once a week?
  • Would you sit with mom for a few hours while I go to an appointment?
  • What about bringing lunch every Wednesday?
  • My car needs an oil change so could you please take it?
  • Would you mind running to the pharmacy?
  • Dad loves to have the newspaper read to him. Could you come do that while I take a quick nap?

You know you have a list, so just ask. It’s not an imposition, it’s a way for people to show they care.

Kansas City Hospice Grief SupportTake a break

  • Walk the dog.
  • Sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea.
  • Ask family for a weekend off.
  • Find out about respite care. It can be a few hours or even a week as needed.  
  • Look into adult daycare.
  • Are there volunteer services you can access? If your loved one is in hospice, it’s very likely. Kansas City Hospice has over 500 trained volunteers to assist with many tasks and provide a few hours of break time.

Kansas city hospice palliative care vs hospiceKnow your limits

Despite the demonstrated perseverance and strength of family caregivers, each of us has limits.

  • Recognize when your loved needs professional care.
  • Explore available options for home health care.
  • Do your homework on local care facilities. Many have a wait list, so it’s never too soon.
  • Ask your doctors for recommendations.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak about advanced illness supportpalliative home care and hospice. You may needs those options at some point.
  • Keep yourself informed about options.
  • Keep an open mind.

Find someone to talk to

Maybe it’s a friend or clery. But have resources outside of the family to help you cope.

  • Look for caregiver support groups. Some are connected to a particular disease, but many are just general.
  • There are online support groups for caregivers.
  • Many long-term care facilities and hospitals have support groups and other resources.
  • Counseling is always an option.
  • A trusted friend can help you vent and give you encouragement.

Check out our website

Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care has many resources for family and caregivers!

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