If there is a month where the people and things you’re thankful for are front and center, November is it with holidays such as Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving – making it a perfect month to also celebrate the family members and friends who devote countless hours to providing care to their loved ones.
National Family Caregivers Month is celebrated each year in the month of November, recognizing the 90 million Americans who care for loved ones every day. Caregivers come from all walks of life and can be just about anyone. Whether it is caring for children or aging parents, many caregivers work full time and must balance the constantly changing needs of the people they’re caring for alongside the responsibilities their colleagues and employers rely on them for.
This year, the theme for Caregivers Month is “Take Care to Give Care.” Caregiving can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be physically and emotionally demanding, adding additional pressure to life’s day-to-day responsibilities. To honor the people who fill this amazing role while working full time, we asked members of our LPP team to share their unique caregiving experiences and the moments when they’ve been thankful to be a caregiver:
“Being a parent is wonderful, but can be challenging at times. The early years can be especially challenging, because infants are 100% reliant on their parents and caregivers for everything, and can’t really say or do much in return. One night I was putting my son to bed in his crib—I had hugged and kissed him, laid him down and said ‘I love you!’ He then he put his chubby little hand up to his mouth and blew me a kiss! Unbeknownst to me he had learned to do that at daycare. It was probably the first form of “I love you” I had gotten from him. I felt like my heart was going to explode out of my chest—like when the Grinch understood about Christmas and his heart grew three sizes. That was THE moment all the hard parts of being a parent melted away.” – Julie Sculley, Senior Account Manager
“As a mom, I don’t really think of myself as a caregiver because caring for my children seemed to become inherent the second I met my babies. However, as a working mother, I can say there isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t depend on my family and daycare providers to help me out by watching my children. During Caregivers Month, I want to give a shout out to these caregivers for the affection they provide my little ones, as well as their constant support in helping me realize my personal and professional goals. Thanks Mom and NGCC!” – Jaclyn Petros, Senior Account Manager
“I never knew caregiving was a full-time job of its own until my mom fell ill in 2006. Since then I’ve been monitoring her vitals, medication, appointments, you name it – and now I’m caring for the family’s new addition, my baby, Fiora. It’s a lot of work, physically and mentally. You just have to remember to take a little break – step away for a bit. You can’t care for your loved ones if you’re down, so really focus on taking care of yourself first. I’ve learned that you can actually function with very little rest while working full time and caring for your family. Caregivers, give yourself a pat on the shoulder, you’re doing an awesome job!” – Melissa Danh, Graphic Designer
“Four years ago I put my job as a business owner and a single parent on hold to care for my mother. Juggling caregiving and working full time, I quickly realized that I had to figure out a way to do both. There’s no book on earth that gives you the instructions to be a caregiver (believe me, I’ve checked) and it puts a stressor on your life that is impossible to anticipate. The best advice I can give to those taking on a role of caring for a family member is to equally prioritize yours and your loved one’s well-being. It’s so easy to dismiss our own health because, as caregivers, we always want to put our loved ones first. However, caring for yourself should also be a major priority. Otherwise, you’re no help to anyone. Prioritize self-care and don’t be afraid to ask for help. And that said, don’t be afraid to recognize your own limitations – take advantage of support systems like other family members, nursing homes or professional caregivers.” – Meryl Rosenblum, mother of LPPer Linda Rosenblum
For all of our LPP caregivers, thank you for all that you do – Happy Caregiver’s Month!