Even Heroes Need Encouragement

November is National Family Caregivers Month, so it seems a great time to tell you about a button we saw not long ago: “Some people call me a caregiver, other people call me a HERO.”

The question is: As a family caregiver, do you feel like a hero? We know there are days when you might say yes, and others when you give a resounding no because you’re exhausted, overwhelmed and stressed out. For today, though, can we say you have all the attributes of a hero and deserve to be acknowledged? Still hesitant to accept this because you’d be doing this one way or another anyway, or you just don’t think you make the cut? Well, let’s look at some of the qualities of heroes.

Heroes are:

  • Selfless – You may have “fallen into this position” but you’re doing it. Maybe you’re even doing it without a lot of help. Who eats or receives care first—you or your loved one? When an appointment is changed, do you think about how this will impact the person you care for, or you? In other words, do you put another person’s well-being first all the time?
  • Courageous – Even though the daily/weekly/monthly tasks never seem to end, do you keep on going despite any obstacles? Do you jump in to save the day by juggling arrangements, laundry, medications, housework, and more? Do you speak up for the person you care for and ask important questions because they can’t or they’re shy in the doctor’s office? No matter the lack of sleep, the missed meal, skipped social activities, do you power on and get everything done because you just have to?
  • Patient and Caring – Have you learned to take a beat and give the one you care for more time to answer, eat, walk, get dressed or ready for bed? Do you anticipate needs before they occur and make things easier for your loved one? Do you take time to just be with that person and enjoy their company?
  • Humble – Are you the Clark Kent in your life, when you’re really Superman? Does your loved one thank you but you feel you don’t need them to because they took care of you, it’s the right thing to do, or it’s just what you do as a kind and giving person?

If you could identify with some of those attributes, it just may be that you, Mr. or Ms. Caregiver, are a hero. You may be one of the millions of individuals caring for loved ones over age 50 on a daily basis. Perhaps you’re caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia-related illness. Maybe you’re caring for a spouse, a parent, sibling, grandparent, uncle, cousin or friend. You might be one of those people who average 13 days a month caring for a loved one.

Are you seeing the pattern here? Not every hero wears a cape.

So this month, National Family Caregivers Month, once again we’d like to thank you and acknowledge all you do. You see, we see you: You are a hero.

This blog post is courtesy of the Area Agency on Aging 1-B, a nonprofit responsible for serving more than 700,000 people 60 and older in Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties. By providing community-based services from meals to in-home care, the Area Agency on Aging 1-B enables older adults and adults with disabilities to maintain their health and independence in their homes. More information is available by calling the AAA 1-B Information and Assistance Telephone line at (800) 852-7795 or visiting www.aaa1b.org. We’ll be partnering with AAA 1-B on our Midlife Map series. Their experts will provide monthly tips geared toward the “sandwich generation” – people in midlife facing the complicated juggling act of caring for children and older parents at the same time.

Join the AAA 1-B at their upcoming Caregiver Appreciation and Awards Luncheon on Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Troy Marriott from noon – 4 p.m. Chuck Gaidica, host of our A Healthier Michigan Podcast, will provide the keynote talk during the event. 

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Photo credit: kali9

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