Thank you for taking care of your family
Since 1997, November has been designated National Family Caregivers month. Designed to recognize and honour family caregivers across the country, this special month allows us to1:
- Raise awareness of family caregiver issues
- Celebrate the efforts of family caregivers
- Educate family caregivers about self-identification
- Increase support for family caregivers
In an increasingly aging population, the role of caregiver is becoming more important, not only to those being cared for, but from an economic perspective too. Right now the amount of caregiving that is done as unpaid work by loving family members exceeds the amount done as work for hire.2 That suggests that social programs to help family caregivers do what they do would be incredibly beneficial to everyone concerned.
It’s issues like this that make National Caregivers Month so important.
This year’s theme is “Take Care to Give Care.” As anyone who has ever cared for an older or ailing loved one knows, caregiving can be incredibly rewarding but also physically and emotionally demanding job. As a caregiver one of your most important jobs is looking after yourself so that you are strong enough to take on the job of looking after your loved one too.
Take care of you
In our article on self care, we identified ways you can make self-care part of your daily routine. These included making yourself a priority and asking for help when you need it, managing your time wisely by carving out a designated amount of restorative “me time” every single day, and doing something you love during your daily “me time” (rather than doing chores or running errands, for example).
It’s important not to feel guilty about looking after yourself. You are as important as the people you are caring for, and you need to maintain a healthy balance so you can continue looking after your loved one.
When you need more help
Sometimes caregivers need a little extra help or perhaps an understanding ear and a shoulder to lean on. Consider these options:
- Online forums. Organizations like Caregiver Action Network have forums that allow you to connect online with other caregivers. Sharing your experiences, asking for advice, and simply talking with other people who truly get it can be an important lifeline.
- Support groups. Check to see if there are any local, in-person caregiver support groups near you. In some cases you may even be able to find support groups relating to a specific condition your loved one has, like cancer or Alzheimer’s.
- Government aid. Check your state or provincial government website to find out what resources are available to you, including care options, services and benefits, and legal and financial information.
- Employer programs. Your employer may have resources available to support you as you care for a loved one. Check with your manager or HR department to find out more.
- Online resources. Websites like Family Care Giver Council and Caregiver Action are among many useful sites online that can give you valuable information about your job as a caregiver, including tools and resources.
Foresters Financial can also help. As a Foresters member, you have access to Legal Link and Everyday Money. Legal Link is a member benefit that allows you to consult with local legal professionals for help with a variety of issues including wills, estate planning, home ownership, and family law – all at a reduced cost. Everyday Money, our toll-free financial helpline, connects you to an accredited counsellor who can help answer your questions about personal financial matters. Visit MyForesters.com to find out more.
Your role as a caregiver is an important one. During National Family Caregivers Month honour yourself by reaching out if you need additional help, and by making yourself a priority and taking the time you need to restore yourself, both body and soul.
414356F CAN/US (11/16)