Today is the last day of National Family Caregivers Month, something I wrote about two weeks ago. Caregiving and its importance is something that’s been close to my heart for almost thirty years. Writing about caregiving and caregivers is my way of thanking them for the special care they give to others every day.
The caregivers I know and love are completely devoted to making sure no one faces their daily struggles alone. They are selfless, caring people who are my true heroes.
A few years ago I visited a local assisted living facility on behalf of National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I was there to present the basics about MS to care-workers in charge of twenty-five Multiple Sclerosis residents. All of these residents were younger than me, many forced to leave their husbands and young children behind as their disease progressed. Their story broke my heart.
When I met the care-workers they were eager to learn the basics of MS because they wanted to take special care of these young patients. Their request touched my heart. When I met the residents I saw the special bond between patient and care-worker. My heart was a little less broken after learning that my peers were in capable hands.
But caregiving in an assisted facility is an example of paid caregiving. This month has been a time to recognize unpaid caregivers, likes the ones I have in my life and the over 40 million unpaid U.S. caregivers providing care for a family member or friend. Most are not medical professionals. They are caring and compassionate people who are responsible for the physical and emotional needs of someone struggling with the tasks of daily living.
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.
The Ad Council, in conjunction with AARP, is trying to raise awareness for the Caregiver Assistance campaign. This year they are kicking off a program designed to encourage all Americans to perform an unexpected ‘Random Act of Kindness’ for a caregiver.
By starting a nationwide movement their aim is to raise awareness of caregiving and caregivers while also directly reaching caregivers. It is their hope that this campaign will help alleviate some of the daily stresses caregivers face and reward them for their ongoing support.
Here’s how you can take part in Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers:
- Click here to learn more about Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers
- Identify someone in your life or in your 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
- You can become a participant and share your story. Submit a 150 word or less story on how you made a caregiver feel special, along with a photo, to be entered to win a cash prize of up to $10,000. You may enter the contest once a week. See official rules for entry and prize details.
Want to share this important campaign on social media? Here are some sample tweets:
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
[Tweet “Every caregiver deserves a Random Act of Kindness, they work SO hard! Show them some love http://bit.ly/1Gi93EO #BeKindtoCaregivers @AARP”]
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Element Associates and Midlife Boulevard.