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Thanksgiving and Family Caregivers Month

Recently, I went to visit a friend of mine who was at home recovering from a serious surgery. She had a home health nurse coming to visit a few times a week, but she is blessed to have a mom that can take time off from work to take care of her. During my husband’s battle with colon cancer, his parents and I were his primary caregivers. There was a time when he really took a turn for the worse. I was blessed to call his parents and within 24 hours they were back in town to help But guess what? Not everyone has help. Nearly 40 percent of adult Americans are caring for a loved one. Anyone who has been in that situation knows that caring for a person with a serious illness is hard work. Many familial caregivers don’t have a choice and do not have adequate support, and while caring for someone is an act of kindness and love, it can definitely drain you. We all know November is a time of family togetherness and Thanksgiving, but did you know that November is also National Family Caregivers Month? It is. There are tons of resources out there to help you navigate your role as a caregiver. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Talk to your ill loved one about what role they will need you to play in their life. Don’t automatically assume that your loved one wants you to be their primary caregiver. They may be uncomfortable with you being in that role and may have other ideas.
  2. Assemble a caregiving team. Enlist other key family members and friends to assist you. Don’t think that you have to carry the load alone.
  3. Seek out a caregiver support group. Find other people who are in or have gone through the same situation. They have information to share or could be a great sounding board.
  4. Find a way to take a much needed break. Every now and again remember that you need support too. If possible hire someone to take over care for the day, and you can spend the time relaxing and recharging.
While you are sitting around the Thanksgiving table, take a look at your family. If you are providing care for someone, ask for help if you need it. Or if you know a family member that is currently caring for someone, offer to assist for a few hours. That is a great gift that promotes family togetherness and one they will truly be thankful for.

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