Educating family caregivers seen as a priority

It’s well known that there are numerous unpaid family caregivers in the U.S.. But I don’t need to tell you this. We all know someone in this situation.

However we’ve developed a collective blindspot to the problem. Maybe it’s because we all secretly fear falling into a similar situation. Maybe it’s because many of us already see it coming in our futures and prefer to put it out of our thoughts.

Family caregivers are a natural outcome of the reality that hiring trained workers can cost from $10,000 to $15,000 annually – an expense far out of the reach of many families.

In 2005, there were 44 million Americans caring for loved ones, ranging from special needs children to older adults according to the National Alliance for Caregiving.

Although most caregivers are often women with full-time jobs and children, up to 40 percent are men or millennials.

The one thing they all have in common is that they are untrained, their caregiving often relying on third-party research and advice.

John Schall, CEO of the Caregiver Action Network says “In too many cases, people just learn this stuff by themselves and that’s really kind of dangerous”.

And despite the notion that being a family caregiver means more dedication than expertise, in reality training is sorely needed. Currently 33 states have legislation in place that requires medical centres to give basic training or instructions for care that accompany a patient when they are discharged from a hospital.

The move to give family caregivers the training they need to do this important job is a welcome development.

Although we hope our clients have long and meaningful lives well into their retirement years, their loved ones may play a role in their care. If that happens, it’s good to know they’ll have the tools they need to do the job well.

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