In support of National Family Caregivers month we would like to recognize and show our appreciation for ALL caregivers: those who have been "identified" and those who have not.
There is a whole group of people who have not been identified as caregivers. In fact, they themselves may not realize that they have been serving as a caregiver, because they have always just done what they are suppose to do, what feels right, what is expected.
Caregivers are individuals who stand by those they love as they face chronic illness, disability, or death. A caregiver sees to it that the basic needs of food, clothing, cleanliness and shelter are met by the person with the needs. A caregiver can live in the home or 3000 miles away. It is his or her concern for the individual, not their physical location that matters most. Often we think of caregivers as adult children caring for their senior parents. Or, parents caring for their disabled child. Or perhaps a well spouse caring for their partner in their senior years.
But, what about the father caring for his young wife who is struggling with severe post-partum depression, while at the same time working, running the household and raising their new child?
What about the brother who is caring for his mother who is battling cancer and at the same time trying to support his sister who is going through a difficult divorce?
And the co-worker who is barely making ends meet to put food on her family's table, yet trying to pick up some of the "slack" for her colleague who is overwhelmed with trying to help his dad who recently suffered a debilitating stroke?
We can all do our part to help. This is because we have all been or at some time in our life will be a "care giver," most likely more than once. As caregivers we need to remind ourselves that we have our limits. We need to take time for ourselves. We need to tell ourselves that we are doing a good job. We need to ask for help and accept help when it is offered. And, as the care giving community that we are all a part of we must join together to require that those we put in charge understand our needs and work towards offering programs that address them.