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8th Aug

2016

Good News

Though we tend not to see it in the news, there is a beautiful side to life. There is good happening in the world, a great deal of good. Millions upon millions of people, as they go about their lives, do what they can to be kind, good and helpful to others. They do their part to make our world a gentler and more caring place. Quietly, without drawing attention to themselves, they help bring warmth to others, the warmth of love. These countless gentle people reach out to help where help is needed. At those times when life might seem cold and harsh and unforgiving, they give of themselves, supporting those who are vulnerable.

Here we would like to focus on just one particular area in which people provide support for others. We want to talk about family caregiving. A family caregiver has been defined in a number of different ways, but in general it is someone who provides needed help, without pay, to a family member or close friend with a chronic or life-threatening illness or disability.

You yourself may be such a caregiver. If you are not, you most likely know someone who is. Family caregivers are all around us, doing what they do every day, often unnoticed. There are far more of them than most of us realize.

Caregiving In The US

In 2015, the AARP Public Policy Institute together with the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) presented a report entitled Caregiving in the US 2015. It is available by clicking here. One remarkable result is that there were an estimated 34.2 million adults in the United States who provided unpaid care in the previous twelve months to an adult 50 years of age or older. That is a lot of people indeed, and this does not even count those caring for sick or disabled younger adults or children.

The findings of just this one study give us a window into the vast amount of care that is provided by family caregivers. The majority is women (60%) but many (40%) are men. One in ten of these caregivers are over 75 years old. Altogether, there are millions upon millions of them! This is a huge amount of caring, a veritable ocean of love.

Caregiver Challenges

Behind these numbers, though, there are also many challenges. Yes, at its heart family caregiving is a matter of love. It is a beautiful thing indeed. Love, though, can and often does face challenges. To provide support for someone day after day, week after week, year after year, can be difficult and sometimes very difficult indeed. In the worst cases, the burden can become overwhelming. Then it is the caregiver that needs help.

In upcoming articles, we will be talking about some of the common challenges faced by family caregivers, and about strategies and resources that can be of great help in facing these obstacles. Right now, though, let’s simply honor these wonderful people. Family caregivers are loving, with beautiful hearts, often facing difficult challenges. They are heroes, mostly unsung heroes. They help make this country and this world a better place.

We thank and honor them and we invite you to watch this video, a tribute to these caring heroes.

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