“Each day, courageous individuals step forward to help care for family members in need, their quiet acts of selflessness and sacrifice telling a story of love and devotion. Across our country, parents and children, siblings and spouses, friends and neighbors heroically give of themselves to support those in their lives affected by illness, injury, or disability. During National Family Caregivers Month, we salute the people who play difficult and exhausting roles, and we recommit to lifting up these Americans as they care for their loved ones while protecting their dignity and individuality.
In the United States, more than 60 million caregivers provide invaluable strength and assistance to their family members, and as the number of older Americans rises, so will the number of caregivers. Many of these dedicated people work full time and raise children of their own while also caring for the needs of their loved ones. Caregivers support the independence of their family members and enable them to more fully participate in their communities, and as a Nation, we have an obligation to empower these selfless individuals.” ~ Presidential Proclamation — National Family Caregivers Month, 2014
The reality is without family caregivers, we would not be able to care for the sick. All of us at some point in our lives, for some period of time will have the opportunity to take care of someone. We are them.[expert_info author=”Rashida Jones”]“I know that in life there will be sickness, devastation, disappointments, heartache- it’s a given. What’s not a given is the way you choose to get through it all. If you look hard enough, you can always find the bright side.” [/expert_info]
As I look back on some of the family caregivers I have encountered over the years, some of the faces and names, and their stories, come to mind. The newly married wife of a young mesothelioma patient, how supportive and loving she was and how well he did. The next time I saw them he had gained twenty pounds, looked and felt wonderful; she had aged, and lost ten pounds, but her smile could not have been brighter!
There was an elderly couple who had been together for a long time, she had mesothelioma and he doted on her, took notes, and was happy to do anything he could for her.
A middle aged couple, married for twenty years with no children – she had mesothelioma, she was the light of his life. He would travel half way across the country to work in order to keep their medical insurance, so that she would have the care she wanted at the institution she wanted.
The stories will never make the headlines, but they are more important than any celebrity, or business deal, or latest fad to sweep the nation. They are happening every day, look around and be thankful: we have them among us.
Family caregivers are the bright side!