Do you find your days are filled with scheduling doctor appointments, helping mom pay her bills, running to the pharmacy to pick up your wife's medication?
Do you visit or call your dad to make sure he is "okay" and has everything he needs for the week?
Has your mother-in-law moved in with you because the family believes she can no longer live on her own?
Are you worried about your grandfather's physical condition and/or mental state?
If you answered Yes to any of the above, then you ARE a Family Caregiver. Family caregivers are all around us. Your neighbor, your boss, your child's school teacher, your doctor and even the person sitting next to you on the train. Chances are someone in your immediate vicinity is actively caring for someone, has cared for someone or will care for someone.
With as many people who are thinking, worried or actively caring for an older adult, spouse or significant other, the sad truth is that it is rarely discussed and as a result not recognized as much as it should be.
Another truth is that some people do not identify as a family caregiver. Why? Because some individuals view the care they provide as what any other daughter, son, wife or husband would do - fulfilling their familial duties.
As a result, many of the services and supports families need when caring for an older adult are not there. Now, more than ever, with our baby boomers retiring and senior citizen services being cut, identifying yourself as a family caregiver is important.
Please share your thoughts. I would love to hear what your experience has been.