Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Caregiver’s Christmas

Thelma needs her medicine. George is crabby again; he wants to walk on his own so badly. Families are calling; neighbors are visiting. Everyone seems to be in a great, holiday mood. And you’re working.

Caregivers don’t get a holiday break. The tasks of caregiving go around the clock, every day of the year.

And yet, the compassion of a good caregiver continues to be replenished by the smallest rewards – and the rewards are often very, very small.

Today, a great portion of Americans depend on the compassion of caregivers to provide care to a family member or to give them relief in their own work of caregiving. And yet we continue, as a society, to neglect to show our appreciation for their work.

In the year ahead we will have the opportunity to discuss ways to strengthen the workforce and rebuild the economy. Vital to this effort:

  • Increased education and training for all caregivers – mandated and funded.
  • Increased awareness of caregiving as a career track through programs that not only train but adequately recognize and compensate caregivers for their work.
  • Increased training and support for family caregivers who provide care for the majority of dependent elders in our country – often without recognition, support or encouragement.

It’s a work that is not only important to our society, but it is important to me and my family; someday – if not today – to yours as well.

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