Every November, caregiving advocates and supporters gather to celebrate National Family Caregiving Awareness Month. The month-long celebration is an opportunity to honor millions of unsung heroes who selflessly devote their time, energy, and finances to caring for dependent family members, both young and old.
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, there are 44 million family caregivers in the United States, or nearly 20 percent of the U.S. adult population. Yet, many Americans are unaware of their struggles and sacrifices, and that is the point of the annual awareness campaign.
National Family Caregiving Awareness Month began in 1994, when the Caregiver Action Network began promoting the immense societal contributions of family caregivers. Even with access to hospitals and social programs, families typically bear the brunt of providing everyday care to those in need.
Every U.S. president since the 1990s, has formally recognized these critical contributions:
“Family members, friends, and neighbors devote countless hours to providing care to their relatives or loved ones. During National Family Caregivers Month, we recognize and thank the humble heroes who do so much to keep our families and communities strong,” said President Barack Obama, in 2012.
“Many family caregivers provide innumerable services to people in need, including meal preparation, shopping, finance management, transportation, and companionship. Through sacrificial love, caregivers endure emotional, physical, and financial strain for the sake of another,” declared President Donald Trump in a recent written proclamation.
Accordingly, the government provides numerous public support programs for those who qualify. As is often the case, however, navigating available services and eligibility criteria, not to mention appealing denials and mistakes, can be a formidable task.
The U.S. Administration for Community Living, for example, provides grants to states and community-based organizations to assist family caregivers in helping their elder loved ones live at home for as long as possible. The ACL’s Lifespan Respite Care Program offers support for eligible family caregivers themselves, including counseling, training, support groups, and respite care. Similarly, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers educational opportunities, financial assistance and peer support mentoring.
If you or someone you know can benefit from public support but do not know where to start, do not wait to contact us. We can help you answer a number of these questions and look forward to assisting you and your family.