Editorial

Family caregivers play vital role in rural communities

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

In our rural communities, there exists a group of unsung heroes who deserve our utmost admiration and gratitude. These are the family caregivers, those selfless individuals who provide unwavering support and care to their loved ones facing chronic illnesses, disabilities, or the challenges of aging. The Department of Health and Human Services has wisely chosen the month of November to acknowledge these caregivers, a vital part of our Nebraska communities, and celebrate their remarkable dedication.

Caregiving is far from an easy task; it demands physical, emotional, and financial sacrifices from those who take on the role of caring for family members in need. Tony Green, Director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities, aptly points out the significance of recognizing the incredible devotion of caregivers. Not only do caregivers deserve our appreciation, but they also need the chance to recharge and obtain emotional support and understanding from those around them.

Itís important to acknowledge that caregiving is often a dual role for many individuals, as over 60% of caregivers in our country continue to work outside their homes. In Nebraska, more than half of the working caregivers surveyed in 2022 are the primary caregivers for their loved ones. Balancing work and caregiving responsibilities can be a juggling act that can leave caregivers feeling overwhelmed at times. However, caregivers must know that they have options, and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act allows them to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to care for their relatives.

The commitment of caregivers extends far beyond a short period. On average, caregivers of adults provide care for four to five years, with an increasing number reporting that they have been doing so for five years or longer. The strain of caregiving can lead many to leave their jobs. This departure can be attributed to various factors, but the constant stress of caring for a loved one is often at the forefront.

Recognizing caregiver stress is crucial as it can manifest in various ways, such as feelings of being overwhelmed, fatigue, sadness, and physical ailments. By acknowledging the signs, we can take steps to support caregivers and ensure their well-being.

As we celebrate caregivers, we must also consider the essential role of home care in our healthcare system. It is the preferred method of health care delivery for the disabled, aging individuals, and those facing chronic illnesses. Communities across Nebraska offer various respite care options, providing caregivers with much-needed relief. From in-home respite care to adult care centers and short-term respite care in assisted living communities, these services are invaluable for caregivers. Caregivers, please take advantage of these local resources for your benefit and that of your loved ones.

Technology can also be a powerful ally in easing the burdens that caregivers bear. With apps tailored for seniors and smart home devices designed to enhance security and safety, caregivers can provide better care while also finding some respite from their demanding responsibilities. These tools, when utilized effectively, can significantly improve the quality of care provided.

To all the caregivers in Nebraska and beyond, please remember that help and support are available. Reach out to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988, the Nebraska Family Helpline at (888) 866-8660, or the Rural Response Hotline at (800) 464-0258. You can also turn to your faith-based leader, healthcare professional, or student health center on campus for assistance.

In Nebraska, we understand the vital role that caregivers play in our communities. Their unwavering dedication and sacrifices deserve recognition and support. Let us stand with our caregivers, honoring them not only during this month but throughout the year, as they continue to be the pillars of strength in our families and communities. For more information and resources, visit www.respite.ne.gov or contact your local respite coordinator at 1-866-RESPITE. Together, we can ensure that caregivers receive the recognition, assistance, and respite they so rightly deserve.

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  • Caregiving is finally starting to get the spotlight it deserves. Employers have the opportunity to find a caregiving benefit to help their caregiving employees manage these additional tasks while maintaining their responsibilities at work. Resources and support are available.

    Andy Reiss

    Homethrive

    -- Posted by Areiss on Wed, Nov 15, 2023, at 11:34 AM
  • Caregiving is finally starting to get the spotlight it deserves. Employers have the opportunity to find a caregiving benefit to help their caregiving employees manage these additional tasks while maintaining their responsibilities at work. Resources and support are available.

    Andy Reiss

    Homethrive

    -- Posted by Areiss on Fri, Nov 17, 2023, at 4:23 PM
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