Every November, we celebrate National Family Caregivers Month (NFCM) to recognize and honor those caring for a loved one, and to raise awareness, educate, and support for caregivers across the country. From full-time family caregivers to neighbors who have volunteered to pick up groceries for the person who lives next door, a caregiver can play so many important roles– but what all caregivers have in common is that they take time and energy from their own lives to care for someone else who needs their help. 

The 2021 theme is #CaregiverAnd, which encourages caregivers to celebrate the other roles, activities, and passions that enrich their lives. Caregivers are a critical part of the Easterseals community and they’ve gone above and beyond to serve our community, especially this past year. Join Easterseals Colorado in celebrating NFCM this month! 

Our program, the Colorado Respite Coalition (CRC), is proud to work year-round as a vital statewide resource for caregivers of individuals of all ages and all health care needs. Working with a coordinated coalition of community partners, we promote awareness of and access to respite care services and resources that help improve the quality of life for caregivers and the individuals they care for.

In Colorado alone, there are an estimated 584,000 caregivers (AARP). Caregivers spend an average of 24.4 hours per week providing care and six out of ten caregivers are also employed. Family caregivers suffer from health risks including physical and emotional strain, chronic conditions and for older caregivers there is a higher mortality rate due to caregiving-related stress. 

Respite is a short break for caregivers, the opportunity for a caregiver to step away, knowing their loved one is well cared for, by bringing in professional care. We all need a break sometimes, and respite provides a chance to recharge. Additionally, respite can provide peace of mind and help to manage stress levels, which can lead to growth in personal identity, chances to pursue new activities and maintenance of vital personal relationships. Respite for the person receiving the care is also beneficial. It offers chances to socialize and meet new people, opportunities to learn new skills and try new activities and respite can reduce chances of accidents and hospitalizations.

The following quote, from a Colorado family, illustrates the importance of respite:

“We are relieved to have someone care for our child that understands his needs. Our provider is doing a fantastic job. We can leave our toddler in her care and not worry. Respite care is such a far-reaching benefit for a family like ours. We knew that having a child would be a challenge since we do not have extended family nearby. When we discovered that our child has special needs, we really didn’t know how we were going to make it, but we are making it – one day at a time. And things are improving. The service has saved our marriage. We are so thankful.”

– David, Silverthorne (2 year old son) – In home respite care

The #CaregiverAnd theme ties back to the importance of respite and the importance of self-care to prevent caregiver burnout and depression. What are your passions? What are your interests? Outside of caregiving, what is it that makes up who you are and enriches your life? Being a caregiver is incredibly important, but it’s important to not lose sight of who you are. Taking a break from caregiving and spending time on the activities you love, that make you who you are, is incredibly important.

Sign the petition to honor caregivers todayClick here to add your name.

President Biden Proclaims November 2021 as National Family Caregivers Month Click to read.

10 Tips for Family Caregivers from the Caregiver Action NetworkClick to read.

Please visit our website at www.eastersealscolorado.org to see the various programs and services we offer for you as a caregiver, and for those you are caring for that will give you the respite you need and deserve. Our program, Colorado Respite Coalition, is an extremely helpful resource so make sure you visit their website as well at www.coloradorespitecoalition.org.

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