Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

November Is National Family Caregiver's Month: How Nurse Educators Can Help

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

November Is National Family Caregiver's Month: How Nurse Educators Can Help

Article excerpt

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter reminded us that there are four kinds of people: those who will become caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who were caregivers, and those who will need care themselves. By conservative estimates, there are more than 90 million Americans who care for their loved ones. They provide care in many settings - at home or in venues such as senior housing centers - and they may work alone without extended family or professional assistance. They care for individuals who are afflicted by disease, are frail, and are unable to care for themselves and those with disabilities (mental or physical). Also included among the 90,000 are parents and family caregivers of children with special needs. Many of these family caregivers struggle - emotionally, physically, and financially. They are often the forgotten providers within our current health care system, unpaid and unrecognized.

It is likely that, as nurses, all of us have already had some experience caring for a family member. At a minimum, we have been called upon to provide our nursing expertise to others in that role. We are very knowledgeable about the burdens that caregiving places on family members.

As nurse educators, there are several things we can do. First of all, we should raise awareness about the National Family Caregiver's Month, held each November by a presidential proclamation, in our communities, schools, and other community groups. Also, we can raise awareness about the need for support for family caregivers. …

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