November is National Family Caregivers Month

National Family Caregivers Month – celebrated each November -- is a time to recognize and honor family caregivers across the country.

As you know, for your loved one with an intellectual and developmental disability most care occurs in the home by an unpaid family member. In fact, two out of every five adults are family caregivers. However, the first rule of taking care of others is to take care of yourself first. Caregiving can be a rewarding experience, but it is also physically and emotionally demanding. The stress of dealing with caregiving responsibilities leads to a higher risk of health issues among the Nation’s 90 million family caregivers. So as a family caregiver, remember to pay attention to your own physical and mental wellness, and to get proper rest and nutrition. Only by taking care of yourself can you be strong enough to take care of your loved one. You really do need to “take care to give care!”

To build awareness around the important role family caregivers play in the lives of their loved ones with intellectual or developmental disabilities, The Arc of New Jersey Family Institute will talk with members of New Jersey’s Legislature at the State House later this month. Keep a look out for photos after the event.


10 Tips for Family Caregivers

  1. Seek support from other caregivers.  You are not alone!
  2. Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
  3. Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
  4. Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
  5. Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
  6. Watch out for signs of depression and don't delay in getting professional help when you need it.
  7. Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
  8. Organize medical information so it's up to date and easy to find.
  9. Make sure legal documents are in order.
  10. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!

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