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November Is National Family Caregivers Month

Presidential designation honors everyday heroes who sacrifice to help their loved ones

spinner image Man is sitting in a wheelchair, his wife standing behind him, hands on his shoulders. Their adult daughter is standing behind her mother
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Since 1997, presidents have designated November as National Family Caregivers Month to honor the more than 50 million caregivers across the country who support aging parents, ill spouses, or other older and disabled loved ones who remain at home.

Adults of all ages are among the ranks of family caregivers, according to the 2020 Caregiving in the U.S. study from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC). More than a third of caregivers are ages 50 to 64, about a quarter are 35 to 49, another quarter are 18 to 34, and 7 percent are 75 or older.

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Twenty-nine percent of family caregivers surveyed for the report had been serving in that role for more than five years, up from 24 percent five years earlier.


In 1994, the nonprofit Caregiver Action Network (then known as the National Family Caregivers Association) began promoting the idea of a month to recognize what used to be called “informal” caregivers and raise awareness of the support they provide and the issues they face.

The effort bore fruit three years later when November was designated National Family Caregivers Month by President Bill Clinton.

In a later proclamation, Clinton called family caregivers "everyday heroes” who, by providing billions of dollars’ worth of unpaid care, “dramatically reduce the demands on our nation's health care system and make an extraordinary contribution to the quality of life of their loved ones.”

“These acts of love, commitment and compassion enable their family members to receive the support they need to live a life with dignity,” President Joe Biden said in his 2021 proclamation of the month. “This has been especially true throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, during which Americans of all ages have made substantial sacrifices to keep family members safe and healthy.”

The Caregiver Action Network continues to choose the annual theme for the month; 2022’s is #CaregivingHappens.

Juggling work, facing isolation

“While the opportunity to provide care to a loved one can be a blessing and a source of connection, it often requires sacrifice,” Biden’s proclamation states. “Millions of Americans have sacrificed jobs and altered careers in order to perform caregiving duties.”

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Most family caregivers — more than 60 percent, according to the 2020 AARP/NAC report — juggle a job with meeting the needs of loved ones in their care.

Many also deal with isolation. Although a majority of caregivers told AARP researchers in 2019 that they had a friend or relative available to confide in and connect with socially, 1 in 11 said they had no one to talk to about private matters, and 1 in 5 said they had no one to call for help.

That isolation worsened during the pandemic lockdown in the spring of 2020, when 77 percent of caregivers reported feeling lonely and more than half said they lacked sufficient support for their mental and emotional health, according to a University of Utah study published in the journal Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine.

While 51 percent of family caregivers say their role gives them a sense of meaning or purpose, the AARP/NAC study says, 36 percent find their role highly stressful emotionally, and nearly 1 in 5 reported experiencing significant financial strain.

“This month, as we continue our fight to expand access to caregiving, we recognize our caregivers who wake up every single day to do this physically and emotionally demanding yet vitally important work,” Biden said.

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