By Catherine Nitelet-Vedder, Wellness Educator

Celebrated every November, National Family Caregivers Month is a time to celebrate and thank the millions of people who selflessly provide care to a loved one either due to illness, disability, aging or mental decline across the country…

The CDC states that 1 in 5 adults are caregivers. Caregivers are those who provide care to a friend or family member with a health problem or disability on a regular or daily basis. You may be surprised to learn that 22 million of these caregivers are also working outside of the home, according to the Caregiver Action Network.

Caregivers have a variety of roles and responsibilities but most often are the primary care for everyday life for their loved ones. The responsibilities range from handling all finances and legal matters to being a companion and friend. Most often, a caregiver is on call 100% of the time 24/7. They often assist their loved one from morning till night, doing a wide range of home services like cooking and cleaning to arranging and attending medical appointments and leading medical care decisions.

One of the most common problems family caregivers face is trying to juggle their job responsibilities with their caregiving responsibilities, two-thirds have had to make some adjustments in their work-life because of their caregiving role. When family caregivers reach out for assistance, they are better able to take care of themselves and their loved ones while holding onto their jobs. Some caregivers have enough flexibility in their jobs to handle both roles, some decide to leave the workforce or work part-time. There is so much to consider… You likely know employees within your company who assist a family member at home.

Family caregivers juggle priorities, manage health emergencies, and suffer from isolation. Here’s what you need to know in order to sufficiently support them. When working caregivers become emotionally and physically stressed with the responsibility of care, they are likely to cut back on their own employment. This November is a great opportunity to honor and recognize those who have been balancing their work responsibilities with caring for a family member. Your company can offer vital support that makes their lives a bit easier.

One valuable tool that can help ease the burden for a caregiver and keep them productive in the workplace is Assisting Caregiving Employees (ACE), a program of the Caregiver Action Network. Not only does this support caregivers with monthly newsletters and caregiving tools and resources, it provides access to an organizational

assessment, internal rollout plan and other benefits. This is an effective way to help your colleagues reduce the stress of their responsibilities at home and at work during these hard times…

All caregivers could benefit from a little extra recognition to boost their morale. So, spread the word throughout your office about National Family Caregivers Month and pay tribute to those special people who have been willing to take on a significant task out of love and compassion!

Connect with WYAO Hawaii to find out how we can support a Culture of wellbeing, health, and happiness in your office today! Call 808-772-8222 or email Terri directly, Terri@wyaohawaii.com

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