Family Caregivers Matter!
The theme for National Family Caregivers Month 2012 is
“Family Caregivers Matter!”
Family caregivers are the unacknowledged backbone of the nation’s long-term care system. They provide daily assistance to manage health care and personal care, while enabling their loved ones to stay in the community longer.
Family caregivers matter in so many important ways:
- Family caregivers matter to their loved ones, spending an average of 20 hours per week providing care – and many caring for their loved ones around the clock.
- Family caregivers matter in making sure that medications are taken and that doctor appointments are kept. More often than not, family caregivers are the managers of their loved one’s medication regimen, seeing to it that medicines are taken on time and that different medicines prescribed by different doctors are properly reconciled.
- Family caregivers matter in reducing health care costs and avoiding hospital readmissions. Family caregivers provide the lion’s share of care and support for those with chronic care needs – approximately $450 billion of unpaid care each year.
- Family caregivers matter to each other. Family caregivers so often feel isolated and alone. Just knowing that there are 65 million other family caregivers they can reach out to who are going through many of the same challenges can be a source of great consolation.
Family caregivers are the only people who are consistently present with their loved ones across all care settings. Everyone else can and does change. People with chronic conditions may have multiple doctors. Nurses change shifts in hospitals. Even pharmacists change locations. But family caregivers are there as full partners with their loved ones through it all.
That’s why National Family Caregivers Month is the ideal time to recognize that family caregivers really do matter!