Support a Small Business: The Family Caregiver

Denise
Every Saturday after Thanksgiving we support the small businesses in our communities. "Small businesses help ensure local economies stay strong and vibrant," says American Express which sponsors Small Business Saturday.

Bakeries, boutiques and beauty salons comprise some of the small businesses in our communities. These are the business we typically look to support on a day like Small Business Saturday. But there's another small business, one that's probably across the street or around the block, that often gets overlooked.

It's the family caregiver, the individual who cares for a family member or friend, who also runs a small business. Here's how:

1. The family caregiver is a purchasing powerhouse, supporting companies like Amazon, Target and Walgreens. Family caregivers number at least 65 million which means they contribute significantly to our economy.

2. The family caregiver houses a mini warehouse of supplies and products to ensure their caree receives the care he or she needs. The family caregivers keeps the warehouse stocked and ready for midnight emergencies and last-minute requests.

3. The family caregiver is the health care system. On a regular basis AARP Public Policy Institute puts an economic value on your caregiving work through its Valuing the Invaluable series. The most recent estimated economic value of your unpaid contributions was approximately $470 billion in 2017. That contribution reminds us what a big deal a small business can be.

4. The family caregiver drives innovation. The winners of our National Caregiving Technology and Product Pitch Event are family caregivers who created a product which solved a problem they faced during caregiving. (Check out Care|Mind and Quikiks and HelpingHandles and ChuckMates.)

5. The family caregiver works has long hours -- often 24/7 -- and keeps the caregiving store running every holiday.

6. The family caregiver gives back to the community by volunteering to help other family caregivers through conversations in a support groups or idle chit-chat in the grocery store line or meaningful conversation in the church pew.

7. The family caregiver hires and manages a staff -- sometimes volunteers, sometimes other family members, and sometimes paid personnel. The family caregiver provides on-going training to ensure the staff provides the best care possible.

8. The family caregiver takes the shift when the help doesn't show up which happens more than the family caregiver's heart (and often back) can take.

9. The family caregiver sacrifices like other small businesses do -- taking on debt, giving up vacations, working holidays and weekends -- so that the caregiving store continues its critical mission.

10. The family caregiver provides an invaluable service -- ensuring the well-being of another individual. What greater way to be of service in our communities and in our world than to take care of another?

Hard to imagine our communities without family caregivers which is why we'd love for you to support the family caregivers you know. Our weekend sale gives comfort, possibilities and opportunities -- great gifts you can give to the family caregiver in your life. Just like any small business, the family caregiver needs you to bring your business (your support, your help, your gratitude) to keep the caregiving store healthy and running smoothly.

What would you add to my list?

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