MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Morris County Board of Freeholders have proclaimed November as National Family Caregivers Month in Morris County, a time for all residents to take a moment to understand the important role caregivers play in our communities, and to consider a kind act to help ease the burden – even for a short time -- of these dedicated residents of our county.
The theme of this special month is Respite—Care for Caregivers in Morris County.
“These family caregivers are the only people who are present with patients in all care settings, since patients may have more than one doctor; nurses change shifts; prescriptions may be filled at different pharmacies,’’ said Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo, during the proclamation presentation at the board of freeholders’ meeting last night in Florham Park.
“But family caregivers are there as full partners with their loved ones through it all, often with no relief or an opportunity to request a time out,’’ added Freeholder Hank Lyon, the county governing board’s liaison on human services issues..
The freeholders awarded the proclamation to Carol DeGraw and Stephanie Howland, both of the United Way of Northern New Jersey Caregivers Coalition.
“We appreciate the freeholders lending their strong support to recognize and honor the value of caregivers in our community, who make such a great difference of the lives of those in their care,’’ said DeGraw.”
More than 44 million family caregivers in the United States, including some 90,000 caregivers in Morris County, are the unacknowledged backbone of the nation’s long-term care system by providing daily assistance to manage health and personal care, thus enabling their loved ones to stay in the home longer.
Family caregivers greatly improve the quality of life for their loved ones, averaging 20 hours a week providing care, with many caring for loved ones around the clock. Unfortunately, caregivers have increased risk for health issues, such as chronic stress, so it is essential to help give these people some time for respite.
Non-profit NewBridge Services, which offers support for caregivers and homebound residents, suggests the following possibilities to help caregivers you may know:
• Prepare a special meal that will provide leftovers.
• Offer to fill in as a caregiver for a few hours.
• Plan an outing with ta caregiver hem and arrange for someone trustworthy to provide care.
• Watch for signs of depression and recommend professional help if needed.
Also, for Caregivers, they suggest:
• Getting regular healthcare checkups and monitor your health the way you are monitoring your loved ones.
• Spending time with friends.
• Joining the United Way Caregivers Coalition in Morris and Sussex Counties, where caregivers and professionals join together to share information and socialize.
• Eating sensibly and find the time for regular exercise (walking is a great option).
• Seeking professional help if you feel overwhelmed.
For more information on caregiving, visit the United Way of Northern New Jersey at: www.UnitedWayNNJ.org/CaregiversCoalition
Also, visit NewBridge Services at www.newbridge.org or call (973) 316-9333.