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December 6, 2015

Providing Comfort to the Family Caregiver

Comfort Keepers® recognizes the importance of National Family Caregivers Month

According to the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA), more than one quarter (26.6 percent) of the adult population has provided care for a chronically ill, disabled or aging family member or friend during the past year. Based on current census data, that translates into more than 50 million people.

Recent medical research indicates the stress associated with caregiving can lead to a weakened immune system and in some cases even premature death for the caregiver.  This year Comfort Keepers is once again promoting National Family Caregivers Month in support of caregivers all across the country.

November is National Family Caregivers Month (NFC), a time to honor, thank and assist family caregivers. The National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) sponsors this annual celebration. Their campaign offers three steps that family caregivers can take every day to make their lives easier, improve the care they provide their loved one, and raise overall awareness: Believe in Yourself, Protect Your Health and Reach Out for Help.

"The research results are not surprising at all," said Jim Booth, president and CEO of CK Franchising, Inc., a leading international in-home senior care franchise.  "With the number of seniors over the age of 65 expected to increase at a much faster rate than the number of caregivers, we anticipate significant growth in the need for our services.  Comfort Keepers can offer the family caregiver a much-needed break while providing peace-of-mind."

Beyond the impact on family caregivers, U.S. businesses are also affected by employees providing care to loved ones.  Family caregivers comprise 13 percent of the workforce with companies losing a combined average of $34 billion each year due to employees' need to care for loved ones.

There are several resources available to family caregivers starting with the information provided on the Caregiver Action Network website - - Caregivers will find useful tips, information, and can sign up to receive a quarterly newsletter written specifically for the family caregiver.

Additional resources include:

Medicare - - The U.S. government website has answers for all of your Medicare questions.

Eldercare Locator - - This site has links for those who need assistance with state and local area agencies on aging and community-based organizations that serve older adults and their caregivers.

Benefits CheckUp - - After answering a few questions about your specific situation, you can review their database of federal, state, and local programs you might be eligible for and how to apply. 

Comfort Keepers - - Comfort Keepers provides in-home care to seniors, new mothers, and those recovering from illness or injury.


In addition, there are simple ways that others can help family caregivers. The following tips allow non-caregivers to support their family's provider.  This list includes realistic examples of how anyone can offer assistance to family caregivers:

  • Call and ask how he or she is doing.  Don't offer advice, just listen.  Being able to vocalize the stress can be a tremendous stress reliever for the caregiver.
  • Offer assistance.  Family caregivers often feel like there is never enough time in the day to get the basics done.  Offer to walk the dog, mow the yard, pick up groceries or make dinner.
  • Send a note.  A cheerful note or card out of the blue that just says you are thinking about them can help brighten their day.
  • Invite them out.  If the caregiver can leave their loved one alone for a few hours, invite the caregiver out - go to dinner, the movies, or for a cup of coffee - everyone needs a break.
  • Offer the gift of respite.  Volunteer to stay with the care recipient for a few hours to allow the family caregiver to take a break or recommend they research an agency with trained caregivers.

Without question, the topic of caring for a family member or a friend affects every American directly or indirectly.  Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter may have said it best when referring to the topic of caregivers:

"There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers."  -  Rosalynn Carter

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