Eagan, Minn., (November 1, 2016) — CaringBridge, the global nonprofit social network dedicated to helping family and friends give and receive support during a health crisis, wants to remind family caregivers this November during National Family Caregivers Month that to be strong enough to care for your loved one, you must take care to give care. First observed as National Family Caregivers Week in November 1994, the celebration has since grown into a full month.
The month-long observance, organized by the Caregiver Action Network, highlights the first rule of taking care of others: take care of yourself first. Caregiving can be a rewarding experience, but it is also physically and emotionally demanding. The stress of dealing with caregiving responsibilities leads to a higher risk of health issues among the millions of family caregivers.
The organization estimates that 43.5 million Americans provide some kind of unpaid care to an adult or child, with numbers growing each year. According to the Caregiver Action Network, family caregivers provide an estimated $375 billion of uncompensated care each year.
Sixty-five percent of the sites on CaringBridge are started for a patient by a family caregiver. One out of five family caregivers admit they have sacrificed their own physical health while caring for a loved one. Due to stress, family caregivers have a disproportionate number of health and emotional problems. They are twice as likely to suffer depression and are at increased risk of many other chronic conditions.
Whether they’re taking care of a child, spouse, parent or friend, family caregivers need to feel loved and supported. “Family caregivers are at the heart of the healing process,” said Liwanag Ojala, CEO of CaringBridge. “Having someone by your side through a difficult time sends a powerful message of love and support, which is why recognizing and supporting family caregivers is so important.”
“Throughout November, show someone who’s giving care love and support—and lend a hand,” said Ojala. “You’ll make a world of difference for someone who’s giving their all.”
CaringBridge is a global nonprofit social network dedicated to helping family and friends communicate with and support loved ones during a health journey through the use of free personal websites. Their mission is to amplify the love, hope and compassion in the world, making each health journey easier. Nearly 90 percent of all funding comes from individual donors. Since its founding in 1997 by Sona Mehring, more than 600,000 CaringBridge websites have been created. Combined, they have received more than 2 billion visits. For more information, visit caringbridge.org.