Caregivers. Who do you think of when you hear this word? Doctors? Nurses? Professionals? The reality is most caregivers are actually family members or friends who are not just taking care of their loved ones, but also working and managing their own families at the same time. For many, the caregiving role starts with simple things like scheduling a doctor’s visit or helping with daily errands, but gradually expands over time, until it becomes a major commitment in their lives. It's not an easy role to take on. And-at least from those I know in my own life- they do it without complaint, because...well, that's what family does!
But did you know that almost three in ten people who are caring for someone say their life has changed with caregiving, oftentimes for the negative? More than one in five say their weight, their exercise, or their social life has/have suffered. Emotionally, one in five say they are generally unhappier and one in three say they feel sad or depressed. That’s why AARP created a community where caregivers can connect with experts and other caregivers and can find information and tools to take even better care of the person who once took care of them.
And for November- National Family Givers Month- they especially want to recognize and support the 40 million unpaid caregivers in the U.S. with their Random Acts of Kindness initiative. Check it out:
This November we’re kicking off a program designed to encouraging all Americans to perform an unexpected ‘Random Act of Kindness’ for a caregiver. By starting a nationwide movement, we’ll raise awareness of caregiving and caregivers while at the same time reaching caregivers directly—helping to alleviate some of their daily stresses and reward them for their ongoing support.
So, what can YOU do? It's simple:
So, what can YOU do? It's simple:
- Spread the word. Share this blog post, or the Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers website. Encourage others to give back to the caregivers in their life too!
- Think of someone in your life or community who is serving as a caregiver and do something nice for them. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, just a small gesture that makes a caregiver’s life a little easier. Maybe its preparing them a freezer meal or two, or a gift basket with some much needed relaxation tools. There are many possibilities.
- Share your story! Submit a 150 word or less summary of how YOU'VE made a caregiver feel special PLUS a photo and be entered to win a cash prize from their $10,000 pot. You can enter the sweepstakes once per week.
Want to help encourage others to join in with this wonderful initiative? Below are some sample tweets to get you started:
- There are many ways to give a Random Act of Kindness to a caregiver, no matter how big or small. #BeKindtoCaregivers @AARP http://bit.ly/1Gi93EO
- Do you know someone caring for a family member or friend? Surprise them with a Random Act of Kindness! #BeKindtoCaregivers http://bit.ly/1Gi93EO @AARP
- Every caregiver deserves a Random Act of Kindness, they work SO hard! Show them some love http://bit.ly/1Gi93EO #BeKindtoCaregivers @AARP
Is there a caregiver in your life would like to give a shout out to?? In what ways can you offer encouragement and support to them? Are YOU the caregiver? What random acts of kindness would make your role as caregiver easier?