The theme for National Caregivers Month is “Family Caregivers Matter.” It is estimated that more than 65 million people, 29% of the US population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one.
The presidential proclamation states “our Nation’s health care professionals provide essential medical services to millions of Americans, yet they do not shoulder their responsibilities alone. Family members, friends, and neighbours devote countless hours to providing care to their relatives or loved ones. During National Family Caregivers Month, we recognise and thank the humble heroes who do so much to keep our families and communities strong.”
The National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) coordinates National Family Caregivers Month to thank, support, educate and empower family caregivers. The aim of the awareness month is to:
- raise awareness of family caregiver issues
- celebrate the efforts of family caregivers
- educate family caregivers about self-identification
- increase support for family caregivers.
The presidential proclamation recognises that “family caregivers have an immeasurable impact on the lives of those they assist, but their hours are long and their work is hard. Many put their own lives on hold to lift up someone close to them.”
According to Suzanne Mintz, CEO of NFCA, family caregivers provide the lion’s share of long-term care and support for those with chronic care needs – more than $450 billion of unpaid care each year. Family caregivers are the only people who are consistently present with their loved ones across all care settings.
President Obama concluded “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.”