Experts predict that by 2050 the number of older Americans (65 and older) will surpass the number of younger Americans (21 and younger) for the first time in history. The sheer number of older Americans, coupled with the dramatic increase in people developing Alzheimer’s means that you will probably find yourself providing care for an older loved one at some time, if you are not already. The Indianapolis elder law attorneys at Frank & Kraft encourage you to honor family caregivers during National Family Caregiver Month this November.
Why Is National Family Caregiver Month Important?
Each November, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recognizes National Family Caregivers Month (NFCM) to acknowledge the millions of family caregivers who are caring for their loved ones with a chronic disease. With 2.2 million stroke family caregivers in the U.S., the AHA/ASA strives to provide the post-stroke resources, information, and recognition family caregivers need to not only help their loved one, but to find the time for self-care they often lose. In addition, as the healthcare system struggles to keep up with the demand for caregivers for Alzheimer’s sufferers, family caregivers are often left to carry the load, as evidenced by the following facts and figures:
- More than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s.
- Someone in the U.S. develops the disease every 66 seconds.
- 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people suffering from Alzheimer’s each year.
- In 2016, unpaid caregivers provided over 18 billion hours of care, valued at over 230 billion dollars.
How Can You Help a Family Caregiver?
Maybe you cannot be the family caregiver, but there is almost certainly something you can do to help. Nothing is too insignificant and many of the things you can do to help to not require a financial investment, such as:
- Pre-make meals. Make a dinner that can be frozen for your loved one or make dinner for the family caregiver and his/her family one night a week.
- Arrange for food delivery. Whether you have a hot meal delivered once a week or arrange for groceries to be delivered as needed, the time and money you are saving the caregiver can be significant.
- Offer to drive or arrange transportation. Maybe you can’t stick around for the entire appointment or activity, but you can offer to drive or arrange for an rideshare such as Uber or Lyft.
- Clean the house. Once a month, come in and do a thorough housecleaning for your loved one or for the family caregiver.
- Buy a gift certificate to a favorite shop. Remind a caregiver that he/she is appreciated with a $10 gift certificate to Starbucks, Target, or another favorite shop.
- Take over the finances. Offer to spend one night a month balancing the check book or paying the bills.
- Coordinate services and appointments. Take over scheduling and coordinating services and appointments such as home healthcare and medical appointments. The time that saves the family caregiver can be valuable.
- Spend time with your loved one. Sometimes, caregiving is as simple as being there. Give the family caregiver a break by spending some time with your loved one. You will likely find that you get as much out of doing so as your loved one and the family caregiver do.
Contact Indianapolis Elder Law Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about elder law issues, contact the experienced Indianapolis elder law attorneys at Frank & Kraft by calling (317) 684-1100 to schedule an appointment.