Health Care Happens in the Family; Let’s Tally Your Caregiving Years

leaves-228106_640We think of the health care system as compromising hospitals, outpatient facilities, doctors, rehabilitation services.

Sure, these are part of the health care system. Health care, though, happens in the family. Hospitals, outpatient facilities, doctors and rehab services provide once-in-awhile care.

Family members, like you, provide all-the-time care, day and night, day after day. You change wounds, dispense medications, monitor health, provide activities, prepare special meals, keep health care professionals up-to-date, research options, advocate for the best possible care, make difficult decisions, shop for the the best-priced supplies, give the rides, first notice the problems, often suggest the solutions to health care professionals and keep the faith. You are the health care system.

Consider:

  • 5,723: Total number of hospitals (2012 American Hospital Association Annual Survey)
  • 920,829: Total number of hospital beds (2012 American Hospital Association Annual Survey)
  • 834,769: Total number of physicians (2012, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)
  • 65.7 million: Total number of  individuals who care for a family member or friend (National Alliance for Caregiving, 2009)

To show how much the health care system relies on families to provide care, let’s capture your caregiving years. I’ve created an area in our Forums for you to share the length of your caregiving experiences, past and present. Tell us as much as you’d like and especially the number of your caregiving experiences.

I’ll keep a running tally of your caregiving years and keep you posted on the numbers.

Tell us about your caregiving years.

Reminder

When you care for a family member or friend, the experience can be lonely and isolating. You can feel like you’re the only one. Wouldn’t it be great if you could somehow spot another family caregiver in the crowd? So, let’s try it. On Friday, April 11, wear green to bring awareness to the family caregiver experience.

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About Denise Brown

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched CareGiving.com in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

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