During January, posts have highlighted the rising stars of activity professionals, music therapist, intergenerational programs and self-care. What do these all have to do with each other? They are all revolve around caregivers.

Rising Star: CaregivingMany articles have been written about the looming shortage of caregivers as Boomers age. That is one reason this is a rising star issues – the proportion of people requiring care and the of people to provide the care is about to switch.

HELLO! We need to start focusing on this challenge before it arrives.  We need to have it regularly in lights and headlines. We need to get people talking about this.

Reality check: it isn’t just the elders who need care. It is the young, the ill, those who are vulnerable.

Caregivers are parents caring for children, children caring for parents. They are healthcare professionals providing the care  needed. They are volunteers delivering meals, reading books, painting house, taking out garbage, …sharing care and concern for others.

Let’s face it the needs for care are diverse. Luckily, caregivers are a diverse group. Some are paid while others are unpaid. Some choose this role in response to needs of those around them. Some have it “forced” upon them by circumstance. However people happen into the caregiver role, they need, they deserve our support.

Personally, I believe caregiving is more than going through the motions. It is about engaging and connecting with those for whom we are providing care. It is about adding a spark of something special/good into each day.

How do we support caregivers in engaging and connecting when the demand is increasing? Let’s start asking how we can help our friends and neighbors. Let’s explore saving for retirement, long-term care insurance. Let’s start creating a plan B and a plan C for that matter.

A slew of questions arise around the subject of caregiving. Here are just a few in no particular order of priority.:

  • What services exist in your community that support caregivers? Can any of the programs for the young or the old be altered to meet the needs of the other? Can we create an easier way for people to locate what is available?
  • Do we need to make better use of the Family Medical Leave Act? Do we need to look at modifications to work schedules for caregivers who are employed outside the home can assist with getting loved ones to appointments?
  • Do we ask for the support that we need? How do we respond when caregivers ask for support?

What questions do you think we need to be asking and answering around caregiving? Share them in the comments below.