The older population in the United States has increased dramatically and steadily over the last several decades – and is expected to continue to grow for the foreseeable future. That means that there is a good chance that you, or a family member, will provide unpaid care to an older loved one at some point. The Bellevue Elder Law Attorneys at Legacy Estate Planning, LLC encourage you to honor family caregivers during National Family Caregiver Month this November.
What Is National Family Caregiver Month?
Each November, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recognizes National Family Caregivers Month (NFCM) to acknowledge the millions of family caregivers who are caring for their loved ones with a chronic disease. With 2.2 million stroke family caregivers in the U.S., the AHA/ASA strives to provide the post-stroke resources, information, and recognition family caregivers need to not only help their loved one, but to find the time for self-care they often lose. In addition, as the healthcare system struggles to keep up with the demand for caregivers for Alzheimer’s sufferers, family caregivers are often left to carry the load, as evidenced by the following facts and figures:
- More than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s.
- Someone in the U.S. develops the disease every 66 seconds.
- 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people suffering from Alzheimer’s each year.
- In 2016, unpaid caregivers provided over 18 billion hours of care, valued at over 230 billion dollars.
8 Ways to Help and Honor a Family Caregiver
Maybe you cannot be the family caregiver, but there is almost certainly something you can do to help. Nothing is too insignificant and many of the things you can do to help do not require a financial investment, such as:
- Offer to drive or arrange transportation. Maybe you can’t stick around for the entire appointment or activity, but you can offer to drive or arrange for an rideshare such as Uber or Lyft.
- Clean the house. Once a month, come in and do a thorough housecleaning for your loved one or for the family caregiver.
- Spend time with your loved one. Sometimes, caregiving is as simple as being there. Give the family caregiver a break by spending some time with your loved one. You will likely find that you get as much out of doing so as your loved one and the family caregiver do.
- Buy a gift certificate to a favorite shop. Remind a caregiver that he/she is appreciated with a $10 gift certificate to Starbucks, Target, or another favorite shop.
- Take over the finances. Offer to spend one night a month balancing the check book or paying the bills.
- Pre-make meals. Make a dinner that can be frozen for your loved one or make dinner for the family caregiver and his/her family one night a week.
- Arrange for food delivery. Whether you have a hot meal delivered once a week or arrange for groceries to be delivered as needed, the time and money you are saving the caregiver can be significant.
- Coordinate services and appointments. Take over scheduling and coordinating services and appointments such as home healthcare and medical appointments. The time that saves the family caregiver can be valuable.
Contact Bellevue Elder Law Attorneys
If you have additional questions or concerns regarding elder law issues, contact the experienced Bellevue elder law attorneys at Legacy Estate Planning, LLC by calling (425) 455-6788 to schedule an appointment.