November Is National Family Caregivers Month: Facts and Statistics
Every November we celebrate National Family Caregivers Month (NFCM). During this time, we honor and celebrate all those who serve as caregivers for family members. The occasion provides the chance to raise awareness about issues affecting family caregivers and garner support for them.
What is NFCM?
National Family Caregivers Month was started by Caregiver Action Network (CAN), a nonprofit agency that delivers free resources including education and peer support to family caregivers.
During NFCM, CAN helps organize events and activities designed to:
- Increase awareness and understanding about issues affecting family caregivers
- Celebrate the work of family caregivers
- Educate and inform family caregivers about when, why and how to identify themselves as such
- Increase support for family caregivers
What is NFCM’s theme for 2022?
The theme for this year’s NFCM is #CaregivingHappens, which CAN chose to recognize the difficult truth that caregiving for a family member is not always anticipated or convenient.
This follows on the heels of the 2021 NFCM theme of #CaregivingAnd, which reminded caregivers to make sure they care for themselves as well. It encouraged them to embrace their own interests and passions and engage in ways that bring them personal fulfillment and enrichment.
Caregivers and caregiving in the U.S.
The main source of support for seniors and disabled persons in the United States are family members. This places a uniquely inordinate amount of stress on those family caregivers compounded upon those a professional caregiver might experience.
Many family caregivers have an outside job in addition to providing care for a family member, which can create competition between conflicting obligations.
In addition, research has proven that caregiving takes a major physical, emotional and monetary toll. What’s more, while most caregiving recipients are over age 50, so too are more than half of all family caregivers. This means those family caregivers have their own health vulnerabilities to consider and confront in addition to those of the family member for whom they’re providing care.
Here are some interesting and noteworthy facts about caregivers and caregiving in the U.S., according to the Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 report published by the AARP Public Policy Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving:
- In the United States, 53 million people are giving friends and relatives unpaid care.
- Of those caregivers, 61 percent are women and 39 percent are men; that’s the same gender breakdown of caregiving recipients.
- In addition, 69 percent have a job outside of caregiving.
- 89 percent of caregivers are related by blood or marriage to their caregiving recipient.
- Three-quarters of caregivers care for only one person, but that leaves a fourth of them who care for more than one at a time.
How to celebrate National Family Caregivers Month
Throughout the month of November, national and community-based organizations hold events and activities online and off to help further the mission and goals of NFCM.
The organizers of NFCM – the Caregiver Action Network – provide materials relating the annual observance and the given year’s theme for general use, such as a social media kit. CAN also coordinates with the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to offer various educational, awareness-raising and celebratory events.
ACL is a government agency that counts itself as a proud proponent of caregiver rights, needs and recognition not just on NFCM but throughout the year, working on councils and programs to empower, support and engage caregivers.
Research has found that caregivers can experience reduced stress, anxiety and through coordinated support services. These services can also make those caregivers more able to provide care for longer periods of time, thereby delaying or altogether avoiding the necessity for expensive institutional care.
You can help family caregivers on NFCM and throughout the year by posting items on your social media accounts related to NFCM, issues affecting family caregivers and showing your support for them. This may include encouraging comments, uplifting news stories or word of relevant community-based events.
When you make these posts, you can help disperse them further and wider across those social networks by adding any of the following hashtags that may apply:
- #CaregivingHappens – CAN’s official hashtag for this year’s event
- #RAISEcaregiving – ACL’s official hashtag for RAISE activities
- #NFCMonth – Annual NFCM hashtag
- #FamilyCaregiver – For posts related to a greater discussion on family caregiving
- #Caregivers – For posts related more broadly to caregiving in general
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