Tuesday, December 4

giving back: thank a caregiver this holiday season

My mother is our family's ultimate caretaker, and she instilled the value of giving to others in my heart at an early age.  As a child, I wondered my older cousin L called my parents "Mom" and "Dad," and it occasionally made me jealous - they were my parents, after all.  When I was older, my mother explained that when L's parents were going through a divorce when she was a teenager, things became very difficult in their home.  L started to rebel and get in trouble at school.  My parents took her in, raising her and providing for her until she was old enough to be emancipated from her parents and thrive on her on.  When I refer to "my sister" here on the blog, it's L I'm talking about - she understands exactly what it means to be my parents' child.  She and I are the two women lucky enough to have been raised by two people who taught us to be creative, to be strong, and to put others before ourselves.  She's now a mother of two awesome boys - and she still calls my mother "Mom."

I saw firsthand my mother's devotion to caring for her family when my grandmother became ill during my middle school years.  When a stroke incapacitated my Mamaw, my mom and I moved into her house so that my mom could take care of her full-time.  When my grandmother couldn't prepare her own meals, bathe herself, or dress herself, my mother was there, and I never saw her express any frustration or fatigue even though I know it was hard for her to only spend time in our home on the weekends.  While my Mamaw did have nurses and physical therapists treat her in-home, my mother was the one who did the real work of helping her with everyday survival and keeping her spirit strong.

In the US, 50 million unpaid caregivers give their time and love to ill and disabled family members and children with special needs.  Often, these good Samaritans must step away from their paying jobs to provide their family members, friends and neighbors with the care they need.  Many caregivers sacrifice their own financial security to care for their loved ones - to keep loved ones from having to stay in nursing homes,because they can't afford in-home healthcare, or to provide other necessary support.  The http://wegiveacare.org/ campaign seeks to increase awareness and support for a bill in Congress that would recognize caretaking as a form of valuable work and allow caregivers to accumulate Social Security credits to be eligible for benefits when they retire.  Read more about the caregiver credit at http://wegiveacare.org/why-appreciate-caregivers/what-is-the-caregiver-credit/.

Please take a moment during this holiday season to thank a caregiver in your community!  Better yet, take some time to consider what you could do to make these caregiver's lives a bit easier - could you babysit their children, prepare a dinner, or go on a grocery run?  Many of these caregivers do the work of a team of people and receive little recognition - and, usually, no remuneration.  You can visit http://wegiveacare.org/about/the-give-a-care-video/ to view a video clip expressing gratitude to caregivers and send a personalized video to a caregiver in your life.

DISCLOSURE:  I am not being compensated for this post.  I was contacted by the Give A Care campaign through MOMocrats to help raise their profile through blogging and other social media.  This is a cause that I truly believe in and support!

Check out the other posts in this blog carnival:

Dresden Shumaker of Creating Motherhood: I Gave a Care. I Was a Caregiver.

Nancy Wurtzel of Dating Dementia: Walmart Moment Brings Compassion and Clarity

Julie Pippert of Using My Words: The Kindness of Strangers Can Mean the World

Sarah Granger at Huffington Post: Honoring Caregivers in Our Lives Throughout the Holidays

Meghan Shuster Harvey at SheHeroes: Caregivers are SheHeroes Too

Cynthia Liu at MOMocrats: Eldercare, Childcare and Everything Inbetween

Donna Schwartz Mills at SoCal Mom: Give a Care for the Caregivers


  1. What beautifully written post. Your mother sounds like an amazing person and she's so blessed to have a daughter like you who recognizes what's important in life.
    Leslie (aka Gwen Moss)

  2. That is just righteous. Everyone should pay heed to that. What caregivers do is incredibly significant, with the untenable conditions of both health and work in rapid times. We should really take a step back and show some appreciation, and affirm the principle of what they do, as well as their continued employment. Great job there, and may your initiative continue. All the best!

    Marcia Sherman @ Comfort Keepers