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November is National Family Caregivers Month

November 27, 2014

Family members and family caregivers are an important part of the Craig Hospital fabric. This Thanksgiving holiday, we say ‘thank you’ to all the family caregivers who provide support and care for their loved ones.

In November of 2012, President Obama declared the month of November National Family Caregivers Month to recognize the commitment of those who provide additional care to family members and loved ones.

The President said, “Family caregivers have an immeasurable impact on the lives of those they assist, but their hours are long and their work is hard. Many put their own lives on hold to lift up someone close to them.”

In the United States two out of five adults are family caregivers, a statistic that has risen nearly 10% since 2010. Professional caregiver options are expensive—the average out-of-pocket caregiving costs are $5,500 per year, excluding expenses of home alterations. The cost for professional caregiving services for someone who is living with a spinal cord or traumatic brain injury can be substantially higher.

Avery La Fleur, a clinical care manager at Craig Hospital, is familiar with the struggles of a family caregiver. He says, “We often times take these individuals for granted and forget they too need a break, a night off, a weekend, a vacation. We forget many times these individuals have to wake up, care for their loved one, go to work for eight hours, and at the end of a long day in the office return home to caring for their loved one. This is not an inconvenience to them; it's a necessity, a reality.”

Avery’s advice for those who know a caregiver is, “Take the time to show your appreciation to someone you know by giving them even just an hour break to do something for their self. The gift of time you will find means more to them and the person they are caring for than any monetary gift you could give them.”

As for the family caregiver, “My words to the caregiver: accept help from others, don't be afraid to ask for help, and always know that the job you do day in and day out is appreciated and you are respected.”