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A Nation of Caregivers

American Caregivers are everyday heroes.

The Fourth is here again – Independence Day. A day to watch the parade with a kid on your shoulders, eat barbecue, take in fireworks and celebrate our American heritage.

And from where we sit here at CaringBridge, it’s a time to remember two things about being Americans.

First, We’re Generous

Americans have big hearts, plus loyalty and pride. We reach out to help victims of earthquakes, floods, tornados, wars and other disasters whenever and wherever people need us, no matter who they are.

  • When Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern seaboard last fall, help started arriving almost immediately. Armies of first responders, medical personnel and National Guardsmen swept in within days, ABC and NBC television quickly raised $40 million for relief efforts and millions more came from individual donors.
  • The same thing happened after Oklahoma’s monster tornado in May. Relief arrived immediately from across the state and beyond, and organizations from the Red Cross to the Salvation Army coordinated meals, temporary housing and cash donations for the thousands of people left homeless and hungry.

As our soldiers say, “we got your six” no matter what. “Six” refers to your back (the six o’clock position), and it means we look out for each other – always.

Second, We’re a Nation of Caregivers

The caregiving we provide for loved ones and friends is almost as American as the Stars & Stripes. Consider:

  • In a typical year, over 65 million Americans – one in three adults ages 25-54 – spend an average of 20 hours every week caring for a family member or friend who’s ill, disabled or aged.
  • The average caregiver for someone 50 or older spends $5,531 out of pocket on caregiving expenses every year. And like most caregivers, they ask for nothing in return.

We Celebrate You Today

Caregiving isn’t easy. It’s long hours. It can be stressful and emotional. There are no parades or fireworks.  And admit it, sometimes you’d rather be doing anything other than grocery shopping, refilling prescriptions, untangling paperwork and massaging feet.

But instead, day after day, you choose to step up for someone you love. And it’s an honor.

That’s why all of us at CaringBridge think that you – and everything you do – is awesome. And that’s why, whenever a CaringBridge Site makes someone’s life easier, we’re happy to know that in our own small way…we got your six.

Today, How Do You Feel About Being an American Caregiver?

Or, what do you want to say about the person who’s caring for you? Please share your thoughts, opinions or advice with CaringBridge readers now.

Sources: National Alliance for Caregiving , AARP.

About the Author:

Tom McNulty is a guest blogger for CaringBridge and the author of “CLEAN LIKE A MAN – Housekeeping for Men (and the Women Who Love Them)”.

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  • By Antonette M. Smith

    My husband has pulmonary hypertension and suffers with his heart, he has a heart valve. He’s in and out of the hospital. The hospital staff on the heart and pulmonary floor knows us real well. It’s like a home away from home. I know where everything is at and the staff lets me get what ever I need on my own. Caregiving can be rewarding but also draining and emotional. Watching someone else suffer brings about emotional confusion. anger and turmoil within me. I hate the fact (angry) that my husband and I cannot enjoy each other intimately. We talk and enjoy conversations but I miss the sexual contact. I am learning to watch his moods, because he has a tendency to get irritable and angry about his situation. I feel as if my life has stopped, but he does not want me to stop doing the things I love to do. I started a journal because the person who heads a support group that I wanted to attend, is not responding to my calls. I talked to the person twice and that was it. My husband and I both feel alone in this situation because family members offer very little support. I feel it’s because of the way we were all raised and people have only so much time in the day. I am trying to accept what is happening in our lives, but sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by everything I have to do. Working, going to school, and going back and forth to the hospital is very exhausting sometimes I just want to scream and run away.
    Right now my husband is home and we are learning how to manage our eating habits. We are limiting our salt intake, which is hard, but can be done. Right now I am not working so I can manage his care. I am trying to find some home health care help for the fall because I will start back working. He went fishing on 7-9-13 and he said it was very relaxing. He would like to keep fishing for relaxation. He is trying to keep his fluids intake at a minimum, because he can breathe better without a lot of weight gain. He’s starting to get around more. We would eventually like to take a vacation when he feels better.
    We read our bible and pray for inspiration to keep going. Our faith in Jesus Christ has helped us through this ordeal. I am also grateful for websites like caring bridge because it lets me know we are not alone on this journey.