WPO honors National Family Caregivers Month and National Diabetes Awareness Month in November

National Family Caregivers Month

The National Caregivers Association (NCFA) launched the first celebration of family caregiving in 1994 as National Family Caregivers Week. In 1997, President Clinton signed the National Family Caregivers Month proclamation. NCFA coordinates National Family Caregivers Month as a time to thank, support, educate, and empower family caregivers. These efforts help to raise awareness of family caregiver issues, celebrate the efforts of family caregivers, educate them about self-identification, and increase support for family caregivers.

According to a 2009 survey by American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the National Alliance for Caregiving, 67 million Americans over the age of 18 spend at least 20 hours a week serving as caregivers to children, spouses, parents, and other loved ones. Additionally, the typical family caregiver is a middle-aged woman caring for a parent who does not live in the home, these women are often married and employed. Approximately 66% of family caregivers are women. More than 37% have children or grandchildren under 18 years old living with them. (American Association of Retired Persons, 2009). In addition to the positive aspects of caring for a loved one, says APA President Carol D. Goodheart, EdD, “there is caregiver burden1 – and that’s where psychologists can help.” One of Dr. Goodheart’s Presidential Initiatives is the Presidential Task Force on Caregivers. APA’s soon-to-be-released “caregiver briefcase” will guide psychologists in easing the burden on caregivers, all while improving patient care. For more on the “caregiver briefcase”, please visit the Help for Caregivers webpage.

1 Caregiver burden is defined as “changes in caregivers’ emotional and physical health, which can occur when care demands outweigh available resources”; or “the extent to which caregivers feel that their emotional or physical health, social life, and financial status have suffered as a result of caring for their relatives” (Given, B., 2007).

American Association of Retired Persons, & National Alliance for Caregiving. (November, 2009). Caregiving Statistics. National Family Caregivers Association.

Given, B., & Sherwood, P. (2007). Measuring oncology nursing-sensitive outcomes: evidence-based summary: Caregiver strain and burden.

See also:

Given, C., Given, B., Stommel, M., Collins, C., King, S., & Franklin, S. (1992). The Caregiver Reaction Assessment (CRA) for caregivers to persons with chronic physical and mental impairments. Research in Nursing and Health, 15(4), 271–283.

Zarit, S., Reever, K., & Bach-Peterson, J. (1980). Relatives of the impaired elderly: Correlates of feelings of burden. Gerontologist, 20(6), 649–655.

Related Reading:

(A) Presidential proclamation of National Family Caregivers Months 2010
Every day, family members, friends, neighbors, and concerned individuals across America provide essential attention and assistance to their loved ones. Many individuals in need of care -- including children, elders, and persons with disabilities -- would have difficulty remaining safely in their homes and community without the support of their relatives and caregivers.

To read the full text, please visit, the Presidential Proclamation--National Family Caregivers Month webpage.

(B) Vast numbers of children and teens are caring for sick siblings, parents, or elderly relatives at home – often at a cost to their own mental health.

Chamberlain, J. (2010, October). Little-known caregivers. Monitor on Psychology, 41(9), 64. Retrieved October 26, 2010.

(C) “Caregiving responsibilities touch most of us at some point in our lives.” – Dr. Carol D. Goodheart, 2010 APA President weighs in on APA’s role in caregiving in her March 2010 Monitor column.

Goodheart, C. D. (2010, March). Caregiving: What’s APA got to do with it? Monitor on Psychology, 41(3), 5. Retrieved October 26, 2010.

(D) The issues—and interventions—are different for racial and ethnic minority caregivers.

Clay, R. A. (2009, February). Caring for caregivers. Monitor on Psychology, 40(2), 50. Retrieved October 26, 2010.

National Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) marks National Diabetes Awareness Month in November. The NDEP National Diabetes Awareness Month outreach campaign uses real people telling their personal stories about diabetes prevention and managing increased risk due to family history of type 2 diabetes and/or gestational diabetes. There are 24 million children and adults live with diabetes in the United States and an additional 57 million Americans are at risk. (National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2007). One out of ever three children born today will face a future with diabetes if current trends continue. (Diabetes Statistics, 2010).

The burden of diabetes on women is unique because the disease can affect both mothers and their unborn children. Diabetes can cause difficulties during pregnancy such as a miscarriage or a baby born with birth defects. Women with diabetes are also more likely to have a heart attack, and at a younger age, than women without diabetes. For women who do not currently have diabetes, pregnancy brings the risk of gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes develops in 2 – 5 percent of all pregnancies but disappears when a pregnancy is over. (National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2007). Approximately 10 percent of all women over 20 years of age live with diabetes in the United States. (Women, 2010).

American Diabetes Association. (2007). National Diabetes Fact Sheet.

American Diabetes Association. (2010). Diabetes Statistics.

American Diabetes Association. (2010). Women.

American Diabetes Association. (2010). American Diabetes Month November 2010 Fact Sheet (PDF, 190 KB).

National Diabetes Education Program, & United States National Institutes of Health. (2010). National Diabetes Awareness Month — November 2010 Tools and Resources for Partners and Community Organizations.

Related Reading…

The use of rosiglitazone (Avandia) has been restricted, but many other drug options are available.

Diabetes oral medications: An overview of side effects and safety concerns. (2010, November). Women’s Health Advisor, 14(11), 3.