Friday, February 18, 2022, is National Caregivers Day! National Caregivers Day was established by the Providers Association for Home Health & Hospice Agencies in 2015 to recognize and honor caregivers by extending gratitude and providing resources.
Caregiving is a stressful but rewarding job in which individuals provide medical, personal, physical, and emotional care for those in need. The role of a caregiver is versatile, and a caregiver can be anyone! Caregivers often include but are not limited to familial caregivers, professional caregivers, independent caregivers, private duty caregivers, and informal caregivers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 50.3 million Americans are caregivers, 40.4 of those are unpaid adults over 65.
The conditions of caregivers have been exacerbated by the effects of COVID-19. For many families, the circle relied on for caregiving had to be downsized or eliminated to address COVID-related health concerns. While the availability of caregivers has decreased, the need has increased. Additionally, many community-based resources and support programs were halted or discontinued after COVID-19, eliminating options like adult daycares, classes and activities, meal services, transportation, nursing care and physical therapy, and other necessary programs. The shutdown of vital programs alongside the strain on caregiver availability due to COVID-19 has placed immense pressure on caregivers.
With the increased stress on the caregiver field, it is imperative to support our caregivers now more than ever. There are many ways to help caregivers. Expressing your gratitude for the caregivers in your life is an excellent way to show your appreciation. Offering to help the caregivers in your life in small ways can make a huge difference in their day-to-day duties. Donating to charities and programs that support caregivers and those who require the assistance of caregivers can help maintain vital programs that assist caregivers in their responsibilities. Lastly, spreading awareness and education on caregivers’ roles, duties, and experiences is an excellent way to support and uphold caregivers throughout the United States.