Family Caregivers Month Highlights Challenges of 24/7 Care

Caregiving is often a 24/7 endeavor. November marks National Family Caregivers Month, and this year adult foster care providers are recognizing the challenges that caregivers face when providing round-the-clock care for a friend or family member.

Jeanne Leyden

Caregiver Action Network (CAN), a national non-profit organization that provides free education, support, and resources to family caregivers, chose “Caregiving Around the Clock” as this year’s theme to highlight how many people juggle caregiving and other important facets of their lives, such as raising children and working.

Adult foster care programs were created to offset some of these challenges, including the strain of balancing full-time work and caregiving. According to CAN, six out of 10 family caregivers work full- or part-time, and many of them say they have to cut back on working hours, take a leave of absence, or quit their job entirely.

Adult foster care programs are MassHealth-funded and dedicated to helping people provide the best possible care at home, by providing compensation, ongoing training and two weeks of paid time off annually.

The program is provided at no cost to the person receiving care, provided they are eligible for MassHealth Standard or Commonhealth and have a chronic medical or psychiatric diagnosis that necessitates assistance with at least one of the following: bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring between positions, ambulating or eating.

National Family Caregivers Month is dedicated to raising awareness about caregiver issues, increasing support for family caregivers, and celebrating their efforts. Our Adult Family Care (AFC) program is happy to join in that effort, both by raising awareness about this issue and by connecting caregivers with resources that can help. The National Caregiver Month 2017 page on the CAN website is a good example; in addition to highlighting common caregiver challenges, it provides some great advice on managing medications, self-care, and emergencies.

November is also caregiver appreciation month at AFC, and this year we’re sending each of our caregivers a mug and some tea, as our way of saying thanks for their continued dedication in providing care for their loved ones.

Family caregivers do such important work, often not knowing when they’ll have to drop everything to meet the needs of a loved one. We’re proud to be part of recognizing their contributions, and to help them succeed during this and every other month.

Adult Family Care is celebrating Family Caregivers Month by giving each caregiver in the program a giftbag with a mug and tea. AFC staffers (L to R) Melissa Guevara, Jeanne Leyden, and Rory Silvia helped assemble the bags earlier this month.

Jeanne Leyden is director of Adult Family Care, a non-profit Adult Foster Care provider that supports more than 250 in-home caregivers across the Greater Boston, North Shore, and Merrimack Valley areas. For more information call 617-628-2601, or follow AFC on Twitter and Facebook.