Petition Update: I Emailed the CDC Director

Denise

Petition Update: I Emailed the CDC Director

Denise
quill-175980_640Thank you all so much for supporting our petition asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track family caregiver stress with your signatures and by spreading the word.

This morning, I emailed Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC Director, to let him know about our petition. My email read:

Good morning, Dr. Frieden,


Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication to ensure the health and well-being of our country's citizens.


I'm writing about a petition I began on Change.org asking for the CDC to track family caregiver stress and its cause. You can read the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention-track-family-caregiver-stress-and-its-cause


According to research released by the Pew Research Center in 2013, about 39% of U. S. adults–-up from 30% in 2010–-care for an adult or child with significant health issues. We have no infrastructure within the health care system to support, help and care for these family caregivers.


We track flu outbreaks. Why not track family caregiver stress, the true epidemic our communities face? Even if 10% of family caregivers feel stressed, we still have more than 6 million overworked, unpaid and unsupported individuals providing health care. When we understand how many family caregivers are stressed and the reasons for their stress, we have data to lobby for effective solutions and programs to help family caregivers.


Currently, our petition for the CDC to track family caregiver stress and its cause has 310 signatures. In addition to adding their signatures, family caregivers share their stories on the petition:


--"I have a son who requires 2/7 care and understand and have lived with all of the stress and illness that goes along with the stress. Unless you provide care to a loved one or work in the field as a caregiver, you wouldn't understand the constant stress and everything associated with it."


--"I am a caregiver who has taken an unpaid leave of absence to care for my grandfather. Our income has dramatically dropped."


--"i help with brother and father. My health is bad. Now I hope I can be around for my small child. Me and my mom just can't do it all. I cry many nights because I feel like I can't be enough."


--"I am a family caregiver (of 2 family members) who works a full time job. The stress is so beyond overwhelming!!!"


--"I am caregiver to my 56 year old husband with early-onset Alzheimer's. It is overwhelming."


--"I'm a full time caregiver and my signature represents dozens if not hundreds of other caregivers. We need to be counted."


--"I have a son who requires 2/7 care and understand and have lived with all of the stress and illness that goes along with the stress. Unless you provide care to a loved one or work in the field as a caregiver, you wouldn't understand the constant stress and everything associated with it."


--"Cared for mom, mother-in-law, aunt-in-law, stepson (auto hit by train) for over 16 years, now husband has macular degeneration and dementia, as well as raising a great-grandson (now 10). It gets hectic at times."


--"Caregivers bear the greatest and most solitary burden of all in the healthcare system. Their resilience is essential for the good care of their patients. Let's get them all the support and resources they need!"


--"I'm signing because I take care of my Mother who is 79 and is bedridden with psoriatic arthritis and my Father who is 82 who cannot take care of himself anymore. My parents live with my husband and two children ages 15 and 12. It has been a total life changing experience for all of us. Stress cannot begin to describe the feeling I have on a daily basis. Even though I cherish every minute I have with my parents it has been the hardest thing I have gone through seeing my parents revert back to children right before my very eyes."


--"I have cared for five family members: one TBI and four aging parents with dementia, COPD, Parkinsons and osteoarthritis. Aging parents are the hardest, and help is unaffordable for most. I'd like to see affordable assistance and more psych services for caregivers under strain."


--"It was overwhelming stress that forced me to give up caring for my father and put him in an ALF. He died 3 months later."


--"I am a family caregiver to both my son and my dad."


--"I am a caregiver for my husband as well as a full time adult returning college student and mother of our 6 year old son. The purpose of this petition is very important to me and my family!"


--"I am also a caregiver and the stress at times is unbearable .I care for my dad and husband without no support at all and the worse is not having someone to talk to and express the pain that at times I suffer. Yes I do it with love but at the end of the day im exhausted."


--"I'm a caregiver for a parent with Alzheimer's. I've had to quit my job because the stress would literally kill me trying to work outside the home and be a caregiver."


--"I am signing because there is little support for caregivers and our government needs to work to correct this situation. The main job of the caregiver is to work to keep the patient out of the hospital which is less
of a financial burden than a hospital invoice. Caregiving is a 24/7 job for most of us who already have jobs outside of the home! It is exhausting and we deserve more support and credit for our endeavors."


--"I have been a care giver for my husband, who had a massive stroke for 8yrs going on 9. I am so stressed and burned out. Some days I just cry."


--"I am sole caregiver for my husband with primary Plasma Cell Leukemia, diagnosed 1 year ago and has had 4 rounds of consolidation chemo, 2 stem cell transplants, 2 rounds of consolidation chemo and is now on continuous maintenance. As he can no longer drive, in 1 year, I have driven over 10,000 miles for Dr, labs & hospital visits. While he is doing well, I now have a shoulder impingement/possible rotator cuff tear, relapsed fibromyalgia, stomach issues requiring RX meds, have gained 30 pounds and am on 2 different anxiety/depression meds."


--"I've been a caregiver for my husband for 16 years - with no help! Plus I tend to my mom's needs although she's in assisted living."


We have no national policy or program to help all of family caregivers. Help us change that.


Please let me know how I can help the CDC track family caregiver stress and its cause. And, feel free to call me at 773-343-6341.


Thank you so much for your consideration.


Best,
Denise M. Brown
Founder, Caregiving.com
Executive Director, The Center for Family Caregivers


I will keep you posted with any updates.

You still have time to sign our petition if you haven't already done. In addition, please feel free to share this post on social media, especially by tweeting to the CDC (@cdcgov) and Dr. Frieden (@drfriedencdc).

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Jean

Ditto on what Pegi said. You are amazing and persistent in your/our cause!