Each November, The ALS Association Golden West Chapter recognizes National Family Caregivers Month, and we pay tribute to the individuals who provide daily assistance to those living with the challenges of ALS.
Caregivers encounter many challenges in supporting their loved one with ALS, some of which include the new experience of understanding how to provide assistance for physical limitations affecting mobility, swallowing, speaking and breathing. Cognitive issues present an extra layer of difficulty in providing care. A May 2020 article by AARP writes the following about caregiver burnout:
Thirty-six percent of family caregivers characterize their situation as highly stressful, according to the "Caregiving in the U.S. 2020" report from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC).
In the five years since AARP and NAC last conducted the national survey, the proportion of caregivers describing their health as excellent or very good dropped from 48 percent to 41 percent.
A 2018 study from insurance firm Genworth found that four in 10 caregivers experienced depression, mood swings and resentment as a result of their labors.
Research cited by the American Psychological Association found that among people ages 55 to 75, those who are caregivers show a 23 percent higher level of stress hormones, which can lead to high blood pressure, and a 15 percent lower level of immune response, making them more vulnerable to the flu and other infections.
An ALS diagnosis impacts every aspect of caregivers’ lives as they adjust their efforts to meet ongoing work, family, personal and financial obligations, which change as the disease progresses.
The Golden West Chapter will provide various resources throughout November to empower and help address the daily issues you may experience in your critical work as a caregiver. We want to honor you and the vital support you provide to those who need it most. We are so grateful to the Morris Family Caregiver Initiative for supporting our essential programs and services for caregivers.
In honor of National Family Caregivers Month, find support from other caregivers managing the challenges of caring for a loved one. Building Better Caregivers (BBC) is a free 6-week online workshop developed by Stanford University to support caregivers of Veterans of all eras. BBC brings together a community of caregivers to learn new ways to manage stress, improve communication and give and receive support in a safe and secure small group environment facilitated by trained leaders. Learn more at their website.
Watch Our Webinar "Caring for the Caregiver"
In honor of National Family Caregivers Month, watch our latest ASK ME educational webinar, “Caring for the Caregiver” featuring Kathryn Sexson, PhD, APRN, FNP, Associate Director of Education, Family Caregiving Institute, UC Davis Health, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. We are grateful to Kathryn for her wonderful presentation.