Celebrating National Caregivers Day 2023
This year, National Caregivers Day falls on February 17th. Trusted Referral Network salutes the countless unsung heroes who care for our loved ones and neighbors when they need it most. Read on for tips on recognizing and showing support for the caregivers in your life.
The Many Forms of Caregiving
When we stop to think about it, we can probably come up with a list of caregivers we know. Whether it's the staff at your nana's assisted living community or the home health aide who visits your neighbor, we're surrounded by people who give their time and energy to enhance the lives of others.
And while in many cases, we encounter professional caregivers, we should remember that any friend, family member, or an acquaintance may be providing personal care for someone they love. It's estimated that well over 50 million people in the U.S. care for an adult or child without getting paid.
For example, members of the "Sandwich Generation" deal with the challenges of raising children and caring for aging relatives simultaneously. This can be a rewarding experience but may also come with high financial and emotional costs.
Who Takes Care of the Caregivers?
Consider home healthcare professionals, who may spend entire days and nights away from their families to provide care and companionship to our senior citizens; or the hospice staff who support patients and their families through the most difficult of life's transitions, or that coworker who' helping his elderly mother sell her home and move across the country to live with him.
Caregivers may face complete physical and emotional exhaustion daily, and in the case of professional caregivers, privacy regulations prevent them from openly discussing the challenges they face.
How Can We Help?
While we might not always fully understand what the caregivers in our lives are going through, we can still find ways to support them:
Consider giving a small but thoughtful gift. It doesn't have to be anything fancy—in fact, it's best to keep the relationship professional and not go overboard. But if you know a caregiver who sits up at night to monitor your loved one, a good book can be an excellent choice.
Hand lotion, a small gift card to a local coffee shop, or a nice pen and notepad are also ways to let them know you're thinking of them.
If a healthcare agency or facility employs the caregiver, consider writing a complimentary email to their supervisor or management team. Feeling generous? Offer to order a meal for the on-duty staff.
If the caregiver in your life is a family member or close personal friend, providing a home-cooked meal, a cozy blanket, some goodies for a night in, or a gift certificate for a massage could offer the perfect recharge.
Offer words of support, empathy, or gratitude. Simply taking a caregiver aside to share some words of encouragement or writing a heartfelt thank you note could make someone's day.
The Bottom Line
Empathy and small gestures count. Take a moment to recognize and appreciate the many faces of care in your life on National Caregiver Day or any day.