I was back East for more than a month, partly to participate in my 55th High School Reunion. When I got home I found that I had missed the end of the Tomato Season.
Jay Miller, Woodinville
National Family Caregivers Month
As a member of the Washington State Council on Aging, I am writing this letter because November is National Family Caregivers Month. The theme for 2016 is “Take Care to Give Care.”
Care giving deserves our attention, as a human and financial concern. Over 900,000 Washington state citizens serve as unpaid family caregivers. According to data from the Washington State Department of Social & Health Services, uncompensated, informal care giving is estimated to be valued at $10.6 billion. These unpaid caregivers lose about $300,000 in salary & benefits in their lifetime; many having minimal financial resources to begin with.
Care giving can be rewarding, but also physically and emotionally demanding. The stress of dealing with care giving responsibilities leads to a higher risk of health issues among the Nation’s 90 million family caregivers. A significant objective of our care network should be to assist family caregivers – something as simple as a bit of time to care for self in the form of respite activities can make all the difference. Caregivers are giving their help, and need our help as well.
Each year, more of us are caring for a loved one with a chronic condition, disability or the frailties of old age. During National Family Caregivers Month, we must remember that to be strong enough to care for your loved one, you must Take Care to Give Care!
Dr. Cheryl Townsend Winter
Chair, WA State
Council on Aging