Men and women whose career involves providing care to others have a special job that some are not cut out for due to not being able to deal with illness and death or not being able to empathize with the feelings of others. If you are in the healthcare field, you may not realize that you affect lives each and every day and that there are very few jobs out there that allow people to say, “I saved a life today.” While police officers and firefighters and similar workers deal with life and death situations all the time, spending time caring for the sick over long periods of time on a volunteer basis takes compassion, patience and the ability to see death firsthand. If you’re a caregiver or know someone who is, you understand the challenges involved with this role.
November is “Family Caregivers Month,” so Colorado Christian University’s College of Adult and Graduate Studies would like to say “thank you” to all of those people who care for others whether it be as a volunteer at a local nursing home, as a doctor in the emergency room, or as a nurse in a small out-patient rural clinic. Regardless of the specific title you hold, your job is an invaluable one. What you contribute to the world cannot be measured and certainly carries no price tag.
While many people make a career of taking care of others, there is a huge number of people who give care on a daily basis for no fee whatsoever. They do it purely out of love. These are the family caregivers we’d like to honor this month.
About Family Caregivers Month
In 1994, the National Family Caregivers Association began a promotion for celebrating family caregivers during the week of Thanksgiving, and as interest in these wonderful people began to grow, November was named “Family Caregivers Month.” More than 65 million people are considered family caregivers in this country. What is a family caregiver? Rosalyn Carter, President Jimmy Carter’s wife, perhaps said it best:
“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.”
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving in Collaboration with the AARP, 29% of the American population care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend and spend about 20 hours per week providing care for said loved one. According to the same report, the typical family caregiver is a 49-year-old female caring for her widowed mother who does not live with her. She is married and employed, and 37% of caregivers have children or grandchildren under 18 years of age living with them.
Tips for Family Caregivers
If you’re a family caregiver, you know how trying caring for an ill or aged love one can be. When you are witnessing the decline of someone you care about or are helping someone recuperate from a surgery or injury, it’s a physical, emotional and spiritual challenge. Here are some tips that may help you when you feel you need a little boost:
- Take breaks often
- Watch for signs of depression; get help when you need it
- Accept offers of help and suggest specific tasks helpers can take on
- Educate yourself about your loved one’s medical condition
- Be open to modern technology and/or equipment that promote your loved one’s recovery and/or independence
- Trust your instincts
- Be careful to not injure your back when lifting
- Give yourself time to grieve, when necessary
- Seek support from others in your situation
Are you family caregiver who would like to pursue a degree in nursing? Are you a nurse who would like to become a healthcare administrator? Colorado Christian University, with several locations in the state of Colorado, has in-seat and online degree programs in the rapidly-growing fields of healthcare administration and nursing.