- Bathing, personal hygiene, dressing and toileting
- Getting in and out of bed or a chair and walking
- Meal preparation and feeding
November is National Family Caregivers Month in the United States. It’s observed to call attention to the hard work of more than 50 million family caregivers across the country. During National Family Caregivers Month, we raise awareness of the societal value provided by caregivers and ask for greater support.
National Family Caregivers Month is every November in the United States. In 2024, national caregiver month runs from Friday, November 1 to Saturday, November 30.
Family caregivers provide care and assistance to a family member with limitations due to illness, injury or disability. The care recipient may have physical or developmental disabilities, or any situation (permanent or temporary) that means they need some level of assistance with daily living activities and other aspects of life.
Caregiver Action Network (the National Family Caregivers Association) began promoting national recognition of family caregivers in 1994. They spearheaded the annual national celebration of a national caregiver awareness month every November.
President Bill Clinton signed the 1997 National Family Caregivers Week Presidential Proclamation. Every U.S. president since has followed the practice each November. You can visit the archive of presidential proclamations for a national caregiver recognition month. President Joe Biden signed the most recent presidential proclamation on a national month to recognize family caregivers on October 31, 2023.
Family caregivers provide an enormous value to society. Their services often make it possible for their loved ones to remain at home. It usually fills a gap that would be astronomically expensive otherwise.
Caregiving can be tedious, repetitive, physically challenging and emotionally straining. For many caregivers, they sacrifice their own well-being to take care of their loved one.
The 2022 National Family Caregiver Month presidential proclamation reads:
“Family caregivers are the backbone of our Nation’s long-term care system, doing essential work with devotion, often at great emotional and financial cost. We owe them. It is time to bring their service out of the shadows and celebrate and support them in living their own happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.”
November is caregiver month, a time when family caregivers deserve recognition for the difficult and valuable work they are doing for their families.
President Joe Biden, in A Proclamation on National Family Caregivers Month, 2022
To observe National Family Caregivers Month 2024, here are five things you can do to encourage and support a family caregiver in your life. However you choose to show appreciation to a family caregiver during family caregiver awareness month, make a special effort to make life a bit easier for the family caregivers you know.
If it’s once a week or just once — period — caregivers can benefit greatly from a break from their work. Spend a morning with their loved one while they run errands or take some time for themselves. The gift of your time is priceless.
Let them talk about their experiences without offering advice or casting an opinion. Let them know that you see the work they are doing and the value it brings to the family and community. Remember, you don’t have to fix their problems. just being able to talk openly and without judgment is often the support they need.
Avoid saying “let me know if you need anything.” Instead, make a specific offer of help. When caregivers are overwhelmed, it can be difficult to ask for help, so the more specific you can be, the better.
Bring a meal, clean the house, help with laundry, do yard work, or tackle any other life tasks that are hard for caregivers to get to. This helps ease their burden and makes them feel supported.
Even if you know they can’t attend an outing or gathering, continued invitations will make a caregiver feel less isolated and let them know that you are thinking of them and value their presence. And you never know when they might be able to make it happen!
A thoughtful card or text message, or even a small gift, can show that you recognize the gift of their service. Be positive about how you appreciate their efforts and see what a great job they’re doing.
The best ways to observe family caregiver awareness month are to notice and support the caregivers in your life. This can range from a simple recognition of their hard work and sacrifice, to supporting them with respite care or household chores, to advocating for them at work and with your votes.
There are more than 50 million Americans serving as family caregivers, enabling millions of family members to stay comfortably and safely at home. They deserve support from their families, friends, colleagues and communities.
We offer a variety of resources for caregivers and advocates.
The documentary UNSEEN: How We’re Failing Parent Caregivers & Why It Matters is a great way go behind the scenes and learn more about being a caregiver.
Check out our free guide to learn 12 practical ideas for supporting the family caregivers in your community. Caregivers in our community submitted the ideas you’ll find inside!
You can show your support for family caregivers by posting about national caregiver awareness month online. You are welcome to use the images below to share on social media, email, or other materials. On your computer, right click to save the images.
The theme for 2023 caregiver awareness month was “Caregivers Connect” (#CaregiversConnect). This theme highlights how important it is for caregivers to build strong connections to access information, share experiences, and find support.
As the percentage of Americans providing caregiving services to a family member continues to grow, especially among working adults, the national conversation about how to support them is getting louder.
Our comprehensive toolkit, Creating Caregiver-Friendly Workplaces, has a variety of resources and practical guides for both employers and advocates who want to improve support for caregivers at work. It even includes a free assessment for benchmarking your progress.
Too often, family caregivers don’t receive the support they need, and come up against physical, emotional and financial challenges. The documentary “Unseen” provides a raw, honest portrayal of the daily lives of family caregivers. It asks how we can provide better support.