According 2009 research released by National Alliance for Caregiving, 29% of the U.S. adult population, or 65.7 million people, are caregivers, including 31% of all households. These family caregivers provide an average of 20 hours of care per week.
In 1996, I launched CareGiving.com to help and support those who care for family members (parents, spouses, children, grandparents, siblings). I founded a non-profit, The Center for Family Caregivers, in 1999 to futher support and help. Donations to The Center for Family Caregivers are tax-deductible.
Throught The Center for Family Caregivers, I would like to do more to make the life of a family caregiver better. With your help, we can:
--Embrace family caregivers with support and comfort;
--Employ family caregivers on a part-time basis to run the website;
--Empower family caregivers to prepare for what's next by recommending services, products, equipment and supplies before they are needed.
1. Embrace Family Caregivers
When family caregivers join CareGiving.com, they receive:
--Access to our 24/7 chat as well as our daily scheduled chats;
--Weekly telephone support groups;
--Access to recordings of our telephone support groups in case you can’t make them; --Access to our groups, including VRide (to help them get and stay fit), Three Positives (to help them find the good in the day), Beautiful (to help them find the beauty of your day) and Caregiving Happiness Project (to help them find happiness during a really tough time).
--Access to our Classifieds section so they can sell equipment and supplies you no longer need;
--Access to our Questions section so they can post questions as well as answer questions from other members;
--The ability to create their own group;
--An option to start a blog about their caregiving days;
--Access to our archived webinars, which teach coping strategies, communication techniques and problem-solving skills;
--Support through our WAIT Buddy program (a volunteer checks in on a member during a difficult wait in the hospital, emergency room or doctor's office) and Phone Buddy program (volunteers call each other to check and connect).
With your help, we can make CareGiving.com available to family caregivers in need. An annual membership costs $49.95.
2. Employ Family Caregivers
Because caregiving becomes a full-time job, many family caregivers must choose between their career and their caregiving responsibilities. Once they leave the workforce, though, they lose their security for their future. Americans who provide care for their aging parents lose an estimated three trillion dollars in wages, pension and Social Security benefits when they take time off to do so, according to “The MetLife Study of Caregiving Costs to Working Caregivers: Double Jeopardy for Baby Boomers Caring for Their Parents.”
I'd love to hire 10 family caregivers as part-time contractors to help our members, moderate our chats, oversee our groups, edit and create content for the website, and organize our volunteer programs.
3. Empower Family Caregivers
Family caregivers don't receive training--they simply step in to help when a family member needs it. With an app, they can track what's happening with their caree (the family member receiving care) and then receive suggestions on services, products, equipment and supplies before they are needed. The app stays a step ahead of the family caregiver. We'll base this technology on The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey, a concept I developed in 1997 which walks family caregivers through the caregiving experience.
In summary, we'll use your contributions to:
Hire 10 family caregivers on a part-time basis (paying each family caregiver $500 a month) to help as website community managers, help with marketing efforts, lead and start support groups in their communities, edit and create website content.
Cover annual membership costs for 800 family caregivers so they can connect and share with other family caregivers, participate in our 24/7 chat, join our online support groups, receive help from our volunteers and start a caregiving blog.
Create the technology to walk family caregivers through The Caregiving Years.
Members of CareGiving.com say:
I thought there wasn’t a nook or cranny that I did not visit on the website. I just discovered your “Weekly Comforts.”They are wonderful!!! There are so many I have to go back and read now. The few I browsed through remind me of those little meditation books you get with a message for the day. With the one-word title, I can browse through and find just what I need for this precise moment in time.
If not for you, this beautiful site and our members, I believe I would be terribly lost.
It has been such a relief to find a place to let my hair down without worrying about being judged and found lacking in character.
You make going thru the storm much better.
I’m so happy to find this chat you can’t even imagine. Thank you so much for all the kind words. I will watch the schedule and join again as God knows I really need to talk to someone as I have no help,”
I really enjoy your podcasts; they’re amazingly helpful.
I have been a member for about two minutes. I am going to look around here. When I saw the page I instantly cried. I need this. I figured I would just jump in – no fear….I have enough of that going on. It is time to fight for my sanity. I think I found home.
Denise Brown and Caregiving.com have changed my life. The support and encouragement I have received from Denise and the other members of the group has helped me cope with my role as a caregiver to my daughter.
Two of our members, Trish and Richard, are pictured above. Trish, with Richard's help, cares for her brother. Richard, with Trish's help, cares for his mom. And, sometimes, Trish cares for Richard, who has chronic back pain.
We've self-published five books of caregiving stories with contributions from family caregivers. When we can, we raise money to help a family caregiver in need; to date, we've raised $5,500 to help 11 family caregivers through our CareGifters program.
You can read the blogs of family caregivers to learn more about the caregiving experience.
Other Ways You Can Help
We love when you can contribute, but understand budget constraints. You can still help:
Tell your family members, friends and colleagues about our campaign.
It's easy to share our campaign on social media; just use the share tools.
Our photos show myself with three recipients of our CareGifters program: Kristin, who cared for a family friend; Jane, who cares for her daughter; and Liliana, who cares for her mother. Through our CareGifters program, we send $500 to family caregivers in need as often as we can.
Our last photo includes Trish and Richard, two members of CareGiving.com. They care for Trish's brother and Richard's mom.