It’s good to feel needed, right? And everybody needs somebody. But for Baby Boomers, it can often feel like everybody needs you.
The Sandwich Generation (or even the Club Sandwich Generation), as we’re often called, knows a little bit about being a Caregiver as we frequently find ourselves caring for our older parents and our younger children and grandchildren. Caregiving can be an endless and thankless job, that’s why the Caregiver Action Network chose the month of November of each year to be the National Family Caregivers Month.
In 1997, President Clinton signed the first National Family Caregivers Month Presidential Proclamation and every president since has done the same to honor family Caregivers each November. In a month focused greatly on thanksgiving, the Caregiver Action Network and National Family Caregivers Association promote national recognition as well as gratitude for the men and women who sacrifice so much to care for others.
The Caregiver Action Network recognizes the unique challenges that Baby Boomers face when providing continual care for their aging parents. That’s why they created an interactive website full of invaluable information, links, phone numbers, explanations, videos, and other resources that address these specific needs such as respite resources, hospice information, access to homecare agencies, patient/caregiver checklists, and more.
Equally as important, the CAN also provides resources for Boomers that help us find support groups, recognize the signs and symptoms of Caregiver depression, and deal with feelings of grief and guilt.
Check out this toolbox of resources for Caregivers of aging parents.
As of last year, six million grandchildren were living with their 1.5 million grandparents in homes that did not include a mother or father. Countless more grandparents serve along side of working parents to help shuttle kids around and provide care for them before and after school. In some cases, grandparents find themselves becoming caregivers because of the incarceration, mental illness, substance abuse, or lack of commitment by their own children. This adds additional stress and complications to an already fragile situation.
An organization called Grandfamilies has compiled a list of resources including everything from legal services to food banks for grandparents and other adults who are raising young family members.
Click here for the comprehensive lists of resources for caregivers of grandchildren.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) also recognizes November as National Family Caregivers Month by honoring the service of 5.5 million family members and close friends who currently care for chronically ill, injured, and disabled Veterans.
Presently, the VA’s Program of Compensation Assistance for Family Caregivers (also known as the Family Caregiver Program) provides monetary compensation to Caregivers of post-9/11 service wounded Veterans who cannot work because of their time commitment to care for their Veteran. However, after the signing of the VA MISSION Act of 2018 by President Trump, the benefits of the Family Caregiver Program will extend to eligible Veterans who were injured or aggravated a serious injury in the line of duty on or before May 7, 1945. The second phase of this expansion will fill the gaps of coverage for those injured between May 7, 1945 and September 11, 2001.
Click here for more information about the VA’s Family Caregiver Program and National Family Caregivers Month.
Are you a caregiver? What kind of resources do you wish were more readily available to you? If you or your spouse is a Veteran, did you know about the VA’s expansion of the Caregiver program? Join in the conversation!