In 2014, President Barack Obama declared November as National Caregiver Month. An excerpt of his proclamation states, “It is a time to shine a spotlight on those who care for a loved 365 days a year. Each day courageous individuals step forward to help care for family members in need, their quiet acts of selflessness and sacrifice telling a story of love and devotion. Across our country, parents and children, siblings and spouses, friends and neighbors heroically give of themselves to support those in their lives affected by illness, injury or disability. During National Caregivers Month, we salute the people who play difficult and exhausting roles, and we recommend lifting up these Americans as they care for their loved ones while protecting their dignity and individuality.”

The responsibility of caregiving is a true act of love, but it can also be isolating, constant and emotionally, physically and financially draining. It is often overwhelming and is a huge responsibility. It encompasses many jobs such as nurse, maid, chauffeur and advocate and the work is never done.

How do we recognize the caregiver and let them know how much we appreciate what they do? It does not have to be fancy or cost a lot of money. The following are some simple ideas to consider:

  1. Volunteer to spend time with a care recipient. Even a few hours can give a caregiver a needed break. If you are able, give the gift of an overnight.
  2. Give a gift such as flowers or a personal item. It is nice to receive pampering and feel celebrated.
  3. Cook a meal. Just knowing that you don’t have to plan, shop for or prepare a meal is a wonderful break from everyday chores.
  4. Give smiles, hugs and words of encouragement. Just being recognized by someone can relieve stress.
  5. Sometimes the financial burden for caregivers makes it difficult to provide for their families. A gift card, buying food or paying a bill is often appreciated.
  6. Offering a caregiver your time to talk or visit can be very helpful. Feeling someone else’s support is an act of love and kindness.

JFS CARES (Caregiver, Assessment, Education, Respite and Support) is a program designed for you, the CAREGIVER. Our goal is to celebrate what you do each day. If you need support, please call the CARES team at 734-769-0209. We are here to help!