While it’s an honor to take care of a parent or loved one, it can also be a challenge. Across the country 42 million people, primarily women, between the ages of 40 – 60 are faced with the challenge of providing care to their older loved ones, many times while still raising their own children. They may not know it, but they are caregivers, and they play an extraordinary role in supporting those we love. In 2009 alone, 42.1 million caregivers in the United States provided an estimated $450 billion worth of unpaid care to aging relatives and friends.
New research from AARP suggests that caregiving can take a tremendous toll on a caregiver’s personal health and general well-being. Almost three in 10 people who are caring for someone say their life has changed with caregiving, oftentimes for the negative. More than one in five say their weight, exercise habits or social lives have suffered. Emotionally, one in five say they are generally unhappier and one in three say they feel sad or depressed.
And yet, many caregivers do not self-identify as such and can be reticent to ask for help. This Mother’s and Father’s Day, let’s give the caregivers in our families the help they need by connecting them to resources and tools that can help lighten the load. The AARP has several resources available right now:
- AARP aarp.org/caregiving
- Prepare to Care (Caregiving Planning Guide for Families) http://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/home-and-family/caregiving/2012-10/prepare-to-care-lores.pdf
- 12 Resources Every Caregiver Should Know About http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-08-2012/important-resources-for-caregivers.html
Taking care of an older parent can mean anything from handling their bills, to helping them with meals, to driving them to appointments, and more. Juggling all of those roles can be tough, but Mother’s and Father’s Day reminds us why we do it. Make sure to thank the caregivers in your family this Mother’s and Father’s Day with a special message of love and inspiration via The Thanks Project, an online platform that enables families to thank the caregivers in their lives.
Each individual ‘thanks’ will be integrated into the interactive tapestry, representing the 42 million caregivers in the US. Caregivers everywhere deserve to be recognized for the important work that they do.
What are you doing to thank the moms and caregivers in your family? Make sure to post your own note of thanks on The Thanks Project and on social media using the #thanksproject!