This November, we’re giving thanks for 53 million family caregivers

November is National Family Caregivers Month, and this Thanksgiving, we want to honor family caregivers, a crucial component of our healthcare system that is sometimes underappreciated.

In 2020, there were more than 53 million family caregivers in the United States, accounting for most of the caring workforce, according to a 2020 report from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC). By comparison, there were 1 million doctors and 4.2 million registered nurses in the United States in 2019.

According to the report, adult caregivers now look after more persons on average than in 2015, with 24% of them looking after two or more beneficiaries, an increase from 18% in 2015. This research implies that Americans continue to step up to offer unpaid care to family, friends, and neighbors who might require help due to health or functional needs, especially in light of the rising prevalence of caring.

According to a September report from NAC in partnership with the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD), there is room for improvement in the public health sector’s efforts to assist family carers. We need to gather more data to understand better the scale of family caregiving, caregiver requirements, and the extent of family caregivers’ demands.

“Family caregivers are essential to safeguarding the health of millions of Americans, but they often perform this role at the expense of their own health, emotional well-being, and financial security, creating a silent public health crisis that deserves urgent attention,” said Jason Resendez, President and CEO of NAC.

The RAISE Act Family Caregiving Advisory Council and The Advisory Council to Support Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, with assistance from U.S. government organizations, have developed a new national strategy with the aim of assisting carers. The objectives include helping carers through greater knowledge and information, stronger collaborations and involvement, and better support and financial services.

According to the Administration for Community Living (ACL), the strategy is meant to act as the country’s road map for better identifying and assisting family and kin carers of various ages, socioeconomic origins, and caring circumstances. It contains more than 150 activities that may be taken by other levels of government and the business sector to create a system to assist family carers, in addition to the almost 350 actions the federal government will do to help family caregivers in the upcoming years.

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) has provided resources for patients and family caregivers, including the recently launched Clinical Trials Power of Participation website, which provides information about participating in clinical trials, as well as the Guiding Principles for Interaction With Patient Advocacy Organizations.

During National Family Caregivers Month, you’re invited to join the conversation and lend your support to family caregivers with #NationalFamilyCaregiversMonth and #CaregivingHappens.

Visit the Caregiver Action Network (CAN) to learn more.

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