Caregivers come from many walks of life, often taking on crucial roles out of necessity. Many family caregivers take on these responsibilities without formal training or pay. Even professional caregivers often endure long hours with limited opportunities for rest.
Without caregivers, our health care system as we know it would collapse. National Caregivers Day is all about recognizing caregivers' unwavering dedication and raising awareness about the challenges they face.
National Caregivers Day is observed every third Friday of February. This year, it will happen on Friday, February 16th, 2024.
The Importance of National Caregivers Day
National Caregivers Day first began in 2015. The Providers Association for Home Health & Hospice Agencies (PAHHHA) started the holiday to raise awareness about caregivers' often under-appreciated role.
The PAHHHA's goal was to help caregivers gain the recognition they deserve and boost support for crucial caregiver resources and programs.
Despite being an overlooked demographic, there were over 53 million caregivers in 2020. Almost a third of these caregivers provided care for more than 20 hours a week. Many also had full-time jobs outside of their caregiving responsibilities.
Caregivers are all around us, hidden in plain sight. Think of:
Spouses helping their partners cope with their conditions and emotions.
Adult children caring for their aging parents or relatives.
Neighbors checking up on elderly individuals.
Elderly friends checking in with other elderly friends.
Teens and young adults helping aging family members with chores or housework.
Anyone can become a caregiver at any time. Caregivers are defined as anyone who provides essential care for a person in need. This can include many types of care, like help with activities of daily living or supervision.
But it can also include more skilled types of care from a nurse or professional caregiver. Some types of professional caregivers you may want to be aware of include:
Registered nurses (RNs) provide skilled care like assessments, wound care, and education and support to families. They also administer medications and manage care plans.
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) work under the supervision of RNs and provide skilled and custodial care, such as administering medications, checking vital signs, and helping with activities of daily living (ADLs).
Geriatric nurse practitioners (GNPs) have advanced training in geriatric care, enabling them to diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medications, and manage complex health conditions in older adults.
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) provide custodial care, such as helping with activities of daily living. They're also responsible for monitoring their patient's conditions and reporting any changes.
Home health aides (HHAs) are similar to CNAs but focus on non-medical tasks like meal preparation, housekeeping, laundry, and helping individuals maintain independence in their homes.
Personal care aides (PCAs) provide companionship, help with daily living activities, and emotional support, often for individuals with dementia or cognitive impairments.
Without professional or family caregivers, our country's health care system would crumble. That's what makes days like National Caregivers Day so vital. It shows our caregivers that they're seen and reminds them that their contributions are appreciated.
How to Celebrate National Caregivers Day
There are many ways to show appreciation and give back for National Caregivers Day. Every caregiver has a different preference on how they wish to be supported, so here are a few ideas you may want to consider.
Give a Caregiver a Gift
If you're a gift enthusiast, consider surprising a caregiver with a present to express gratitude. Here are some thoughtful ideas:
Aromatherapy: Help them unwind with a scented candle, incense, or essential oil diffuser.
Gift baskets: Encourage post-work relaxation with a gift basket of treats tailored to their tastes.
Books: Provide an escape with a captivating fiction novel or book of interest to help caregivers take their minds off their responsibilities.
Flowers: Who doesn't love a bouquet of colorful flowers to brighten their day? Sometimes, this small gesture can go a long way.
Homemade meal or dessert: After long hours working and caregiving, most people don't have the energy for home cooking. Your gesture can make a significant difference in their day.
Post Online in Support of National Caregivers Day
Posting about National Caregivers Day helps caregivers feel appreciated and encourages others to participate.
There are many ways you can participate, such as:
Reposting a National Caregivers Day post.
Creating your own caregiving awareness post using caregiving hashtags.
Interacting with existing caregiving content like commenting or sending posts to friends.
The more people who post about the holiday, the more people will find out about it, helping spread awareness and growing support.
Donate to a Caregiver Fund
Donating to caregiving organizations can directly impact research and support programs. Even if it's only a small amount, a little can go a long way.
Here are a few organizations you may want to consider contributing to:
The National Alliance for Caregiving is dedicated to supporting family caregivers by advocating for research and improved caregiver support networks.
Family Caregiver Alliance is an organization that helps individuals learn about caring for themselves and others. Their website also has information on finding support groups and counseling for caregivers.
The Alzheimer’s Association researches dementia and Alzheimer’s to provide the best education and support available for these chronic diseases.
Organize Respite Care
Another great way to help an informal family or friend caregiver is to give them a break with respite care. Respite care helps informal caregivers recover from burnout, one of the most commonly reported problems for informal caregivers.
Respite care is when a care recipient temporarily receives care in a different way to give their informal caregiver a break. The care recipient might receive care from:
A different informal caregiver, such as family or friends.
A long-term care facility, like an adult day care center.
A professional home caregiver, such as a home health aide.
You can help an informal caregiver in your life with respite care in several ways:
Reach out to a respite care provider.
Offer to cover the cost of respite care.
Ask how you can step in as a temporary informal caregiver to provide respite care yourself.
It's important to remember that respite care will only work for some people. However, discussing this option with an informal caregiver may introduce them to opportunities they didn't realize were possible.
Vocalize Your Gratitude
Last but certainly not least, sometimes, simply recognizing and thanking a caregiver is enough. Caregiving can be a particularly draining and thankless job. But showing your appreciation verbally or in a written letter can turn around a caregiver’s entire day.
Other February Health Care Holidays
Outside of National Caregivers Day, there are a few other month-long health holidays you may want to be aware of.
February’s monthly holidays are:
American Heart Month raises awareness about heart disease, heart attacks, and heart health.
National Cancer Prevention Month brings attention to cancer prevention strategies. According to the American Association for Cancer Research, 2 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer in 2023. Prevention techniques and screening are essential to fighting this disease.
Caregivers need our support more now than ever. Caregiver stress and burnout are growing, and showing gratitude this February 16th can have positive ripple effects beyond our imaginations.
Whether you’re inclined to give a gift, vocalize your gratitude, help with respite care, or donate, every gesture makes a difference.
To learn more about caregiving and long-term care, you can explore more resources below:
Caregiving 101: Types of Caregiving and Selecting a Caregiver – This article discusses different types of caregivers and which one may work best for those seeking long-term care.
Long-Term Care Directory – This directory can help you or your loved one find care near you. This includes respite care for potentially burnt-out family caregivers.
- Find and contact facilities near you
- Every major care and facility type
- View facility ratings and amenities
- Find quality care for you or a loved one
About the Author
Holly works with long-term care experts to help spread education and awareness about long-term care, caregiving, and LTC Insurance.
Contributor since October 17th, 2023
National Caregivers Day helps non-caregivers become more aware of the care going on around them. But what about caregivers and aging individuals facing challenges every day?
LTC NEWS has several online resources to help aging individuals and family caregivers cope with their situation. Help is always available, whether it's educational resources or access to care providers.
Planning Tools and Resources on LTC NEWS
Navigating long-term care can be challenging and expensive. You can find many tools and resources on LTC NEWS to help you research, plan for, and find appropriate care for yourself or a loved one.
- The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator will show you the current and future cost of long-term health care services where you live.
- The LTC NEWS Long-Term Care Directory can help you find professional caregivers and long-term care services in your area. You can compare and contrast their offerings to find the best solution for your or your loved one's situation.
- What Is Long-Term Care Insurance? This article explains what LTC Insurance is, what it covers, and why it's so valuable as our care needs increase.
You can find more useful information on LTC NEWS's long-term care resources page.
Finding Quality Care for Mom or Dad
As our parents grow older, some of them may need more help than we can provide on our own. When this happens, we may not know where to start or how to talk to them about their increasing care needs.
LTC NEWS has resources for you to start finding quality care for your loved ones. Here are a few guides and articles you may want to consider:
- Finding Quality In-Home Care
- Adult Day Care Centers (ADCCs)
- Assisted Living and Memory Care Facilities
- Finding a Quality Nursing Home
Benefits for Your Website and Business - LTC NEWS
LTC NEWS offers an assortment of marketing and advertising options to help you reach your target audience. Our sponsored content articles are a highly effective way to drive traffic to your website, increase brand awareness, and build relationships with potential customers.
Benefits of Sponsored Content on LTC NEWS
- Drives website traffic: Sponsored content articles are placed on LTC NEWS's homepage and other high-traffic website areas, ensuring that a large audience sees your message.
- Increases brand awareness: Sponsored content articles are written in a way that educates and engages readers, helping to position your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
- Connects with target audience: LTC NEWS's audience is made up of people who are interested in long-term care, making it a great way to reach potential customers who are already considering your products or services.
- Improves SEO: Sponsored content articles are written in a way that is optimized for search engines, helping to improve your website's ranking in search results.
In summary, sponsored content on LTC NEWS is a powerful marketing tool that can help you boost website traffic, SEO, brand recognition, and audience engagement. Traditional advertising is also available to keep you in front of potential customers.
LTC NEWS: Share Your News with Us
LTC NEWS is a leading website for news and information about aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, long-term care, and retirement planning. We are always looking for new stories to share with our readers.
If your group, organization, business, or political committee has news to share, we encourage you to submit a press release to us.
You can submit your press release - firstname.lastname@example.org