• Mon. Jun 27th, 2022

By Dr. Tyra Oldham

Family caregiving for many is thrust upon us and not something you consider until it is required. I applaud all the professional caregivers for their patience and commitment to care. I never fully understood the challenges and maturity needed in being a caregiver. Family caregiving first starts with creating generations of care thinkers. This knowledge provides an understanding of one’s history, as well as caring for the present. There is knowledge and power in caregiving—the ability to learn from your loved ones and appreciate the fragility of life. 

The opportunity is to build community and generations of care to address the aging populations and those in need. The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP present Caregiving in the U.S. 2020, reported the update trends in caregiving in the U.S done roughly every five years. The report stated, “An increase in the number of family caregivers in the United States of 9.5 million from 2015 to 2020. Family caregivers now encompass more than one in five Americans. The study also reveals that family caregivers are in worse health compared to five years ago. As the demand for caregiving rises with an aging population, there is an opportunity for the public and private sectors to work together to develop solutions to support family caregivers and those under their care.” 

There is a demand for qualified caregivers today. The fact that family caregivers or informal caregivers, as called by the Family Caregivers Alliance, is on the rise begs the question how can it be informal? There is nothing informal about the work, service, and attention an effective familial caregiver provides! The increase in family care (One-out-of-six families) reveals demand for familial care where professional services have failed to fulfill the role because of lack of care workers or cost.  The fact that informal/familial caregivers are increasing sets a precedent for families to start educating their children on the role of the family in care. The family’s work in care is far from informal but a process and message to teach children that they too will be old if fortunate enough. Teach each generation the role of care that can mitigate injuries to those in need and deliver a clearer understanding of the work and responsibilities of care. 

The opportunity is to teach familial care individually or as a family to:

  1. Teach children how to engage and respect elders or those in need.
  2. Show by action the importance of care.
  3. Train in safety, support, and what is care.
  4. Mentor in the ways to grow up caring by establishing care responsibilities.
  5. Show the joy, and education one can gain through care.

I understood some of the simple forms of care by watching my mother, Bettye Oldham, care for her mom. She allowed me to be a part of the process. She gave me a box of forms and information that she set aside for me to use when it was time. The goal is to teach care before care is needed so that it is not as overwhelming. No one can be fully prepared for the future, but growing up understanding care can be the building blocks to change society and how we treat our families needing care.

For more information on care support and caregiving advice, write or email the “Care Corner.” Want to discuss care? Care Corner is that place to talk care, address questions for current and potential caregivers, and provide suggestions on agencies, services, and tips to assist in a care journey. (Read more of the article from the Herald Newspapersubscribe now

The Care Corner is for everyone, no matter their age or process in care. For more information on caregiving, send your questions to Care Corner at the Cincinnati Herald or via email at care@carecorner.info.