What is a family caregiver? A family caregiver is someone who works to take care of an elderly or disabled family member. Are you a family caregiver or know someone who is? The month of November is National Family Caregivers Month where family caregivers are recognized as unsung heroes, working tirelessly to help elderly or disabled family members without much recognition. There are several ways you can take time to care for family caregivers, by either helping with caregiving or finding another way to give a caregiver time for self-care. Let us share some tips with you.

First, be mindful that many family caregivers are juggling their caregiving responsibilities alongside paid work outside the home, caring for their own children, and volunteering in their communities. By being aware of your family’s caregiver you and your family can stay informed about how you could help support your caregiver either by helping with chores, food shopping or even driving to appointments. Most importantly, you are showing respect for how hard the caregiving work is.

Another suggestion would be to give a family caregiver an afternoon off each week by you or another family member stepping in and taking over. If you or your family members are not available, you and your family could hire a professional caregiver to help out on a regular basis. It can mean a lot to family caregivers to know that they do not have to shoulder the caregiving responsibility alone. Many family caregivers shy away from hiring professional help due to the cost. If cost is not an issue, this help may be welcome.

Finally, it is important to keep the perspective of a family caregiver in mind. The family caregiver thinks first of the person they are caring for, while his or her own needs always come second, much like a parent with his or her own child. In other words, for the caregiver, the elderly or disabled person must first be fed, bathed, given medication, the environment kept clean and safe, and visits to doctors and others kept up, to name a few. The same, though, is necessary for family caregivers. They often need to sleep more, eat better quality meals, and take time for regular exercise, but unfortunately, one or more of these important parts of life fall by the wayside due to caregiving responsibilities. Making sure that the family caregiver in your life has time to care for himself or herself is a wonderful thing for you and your family to do.

Our office can guide a family through their estate planning and long term care planning options. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment with Attorney Alan Hougum.