National Caregivers Day
National Caregivers Day is observed on the third Friday in February — on February 16 this year. The day honors individuals who selflessly provide personal care, and physical- and emotional support to those who need it most. There are different types of caregivers who are not just limited to the health sector. The types are: family caregiver, professional caregiver, independent caregiver, private duty caregiver, and informal caregiver. Some of them are not always paid, which is why it is essential to appreciate and thank them for their long-term commitment.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL CAREGIVERS DAY
Caregivers really go the mile in providing the essentials and necessities, from medical aid to personal grooming. Despite this, they are under-appreciated and often underpaid, or not paid at all. For this reason, the Providers Association for Home Health & Hospice Agencies, PAHHHA, established the third Friday in February as National Caregivers Day in 2015. They aimed to dedicate a day annually to recognize and appreciate caregivers everywhere. PAHHHA also provides resources that enable others to extend gratitude to the caregivers in their lives. The first celebration of the holiday took place in 2016.
According to a report by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, caregivers spend six days in a month grooming, feeding, dressing, bathing, and walking, 13 days a month commuting, cleaning, doing the laundry, monitoring medication, shopping, and cooking special meals for their patient. Furthermore, 13 hours a month are spent coordinating visits with physicians, researching symptoms and diseases, and managing finances.
The National Alliance for Caregiving and American Association of Retired Persons reports that, in 2020, an estimated 53 million caregivers in the U.S. cared for an adult or child without getting paid for it. While most caregivers tend to one adult, approximately 15% look after two adults, and 3% care for three or more adults. The Institute on Aging reports that over ¾ of caregivers are female who spend 50% more time providing essential services than males.
But who will care for the caregivers? What’s surprising is that many caregivers are elders themselves, and the number of hours they spend caregiving only increases with time. The average age of caregivers looking after a person 65 years or older is 63 years old! Many of them report having poor health themselves.
We think the special kindness and patience of caregivers should be celebrated year-round. Their importance is especially honored on National Caregivers Day when we should be there for them just as they are there for our loved ones.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL CAREGIVERS DAY
1.Donate to a caregiver’s favorite charity
Sometimes, giving gifts to a professional caregiver is considered off-limits. Instead, a donation on behalf of the caregiver can be made to a charity of their choice.
2.Express it with a letter
Appreciation and words go a long way in giving joy and boosting the morale of a caregiver. Sincerely express your gratitude through a letter and let the caregiver in your life know how much their work means to you and your loved ones.
3.Post on social media
Create some hype on social media around caregivers to show your support and let others know what an awesome job they are doing. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #NationalCaregiversDay
WHY WE LOVE NATIONAL CAREGIVERS DAY
A. Caregivers are no less than heroes
With great power comes great responsibility. They don’t wear capes, but caregivers are real-life heroes who help and care for those who need it most and change their lives for the better.
B. Caregivers are cool!
What most people don’t realize is what fantastic friends caregivers can be! They have fascinating stories to tell, and really know how to have fun. Caregiving is a demanding and hectic duty but there is never a dull moment.
C. Caregivers need a support system
They deal with a lot, and it is at times super stressful to look after someone with diligence. They live almost two (or more) lives and juggle their personal tasks with providing care to the best of their abilities. National Caregivers Day serves as a day of support for caregivers and we are here to help them in every way possible!
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