Providing care to an older loved one is a responsibility that many of us are all too familiar with. Caregiving for a loved one can look different depending on the person’s level of need. It may include simply grocery shopping or accompanying to doctor’s appointments. Or, it may be more physical and include helping with dressing and bathing. Either way, it is the caregiver who provides the backbone to our community, ensuring their loved one has what they need.
Rosalynn Carter summed it up best when she said “There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.” Caregiving touches everyone at some point in our lives. As a community we owe our caregivers for the unpaid and often unrecognized work that they do.
That is why Senior Concerns is offering their annual Caregiver Recognition Day event to honor and celebrate our family caregivers. This event is free of charge and offered over Zoom this year. The focus is on self-care and includes topics like “Increasing Happiness by Living our Values” and “Relaxing with Mindful Meditation.”
This past year the challenges of caregiving have never been greater. Many of the respite options for caregivers were halted. Adult Day Care Programs were closed, many did not feel comfortable bringing paid caregivers into the home, and often visits and assistance from family and friends had to be put on hold. It is time to make sure family caregivers know that they are not alone but are, in fact, part of a large community of family caregivers.
One special part of Caregiver Recognition Day will be break out rooms where you can chat with other caregivers. It is meant to uplift and empower caregivers and help build these communities. The event will take place on June 15th from 1 – 2:30pm over Zoom. You can register online at https://www.seniorconcerns.org/caregiver-recognition-day/
In talking with one caregiver she told me, “As my husband’s primary caregiver, I have found that I need some caregiving too.” It is not easy to acknowledge that we all need and deserve caring for ourselves. Another caregiver expressed that her mother had declined both physically and cognitively during the pandemic. With her routine changed and her outings stopped she became depressed and isolated. At one point her mother had a brief hospital stay and the daughter was unable to visit her because of the COVID restrictions. The stress and strain that family caregivers have been through and endured this past year deserves to be recognized. Only when we process the difficult emotions and struggles from this past year can we learn to rebuild and move forward.
Caregiving for a loved one can be a very rewarding and honorable job. Hopefully, by taking the time to honor our caregivers and provide them a chance to be celebrated, we can help them connect with the enjoyable and gratifying aspects of caregiving.
Take this time to thank a caregiver in your life. Encourage them to sign up for Caregiver Recognition Day and celebrate themselves. Together we can show support for the caregivers who take such good care of our community.
Martha Shapiro can be reached at Senior Concerns at 805-497-0189 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org