National Caregivers Day is observed on February 18 this year. The day honors individuals who selflessly provide personal care, along with physical and emotional support to those who need it most. The National Alliance for Caregiving and American Association of Retired Persons reports that in 2020, an estimated 53 million caregivers in the US cared for an adult or child without receiving compensation. While most caregivers tend to one adult, approximately 15% look after two adults and 3% care for three or more adults.
Caregivers really go the mile in providing the essentials and necessities, from medical aid to personal grooming. Despite this, they are under-appreciated and often underpaid, or not paid at all. For this reason, the Providers Association for Home Health & Hospice Agencies, PAHHHA, established the third Friday in February as National Caregivers Day in 2015. They aimed to dedicate a day annually to recognize and appreciate caregivers everywhere. PAHHHA also provides resources that enable others to extend gratitude to the caregivers in their lives. The first celebration of the holiday took place in 2016.
What’s surprising is that many caregivers are elders too, and the number of hours they spend caregiving only increases with time. The average age of caregivers looking after a person 65 years or older is 63 years old! Many of them report having poor health themselves.
The Calvert County Office on Aging believes the kindness and hard work of caregivers should be celebrated throughout the year. However, their importance is especially honored on National Caregivers Day.
Please take time to take care for yourself. Below are some ways to do this:
- Consider attending the senior centers in Calvert County. Most of our programs are for adults 50 and over. If possible, bring the person you are caring for and join an activity together.
- Join a support group (call Lisa Caudle at 410-535-4606 for more information on local support groups).
- Get supportive counseling (contact Lisa Caudle for free counseling that may be available to you).
“Caregivers go through more than they will tell you.
They give up a lot and rarely have a social life.
They can get sick and emotionally worn out. It’s a lot for one person and you will never know until you have walked the road of a caregiver.”
Author – unknown
Calvert County Office on Aging 410-535-4606, ext. 129