November is National Family Caregivers Month. It is a time set aside to acknowledge, honor and support over 65 million Americans who currently provide care for elderly and disabled loved ones.

These are people who are taking care of, and providing attention and support, for our nation’s elderly. This is not an easy commitment. Elderly care providers may often place their own family’s well-being – physically, emotionally, and financially – as secondary to the well-being of their seniors. They may cut back on their hours at work or leave their job entirely. They are at higher risk of depression and other stress-related conditions due to their commitment to the elderly. In many cases, this is an “volunteer” position.

The well-being of family caregivers is important. The “job” can become overwhelming. As a senior’s care needs change and increase, the primary caregiver can suffer burn-out and related stress in juggling care.

Communication and support are also very important. Take the time to extend words of appreciation to caregivers. They may be feeling isolated, ignored, and undervalued. Check in regularly and ask how the caregiver is doing. If possible, provide some additional support or resources. If you live nearby, offer to take a regular shift with your loved one.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

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