Celebrate National Family Caregiver Month

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The Michigan Office of Services to the Aging recognizes November as National Family Caregiver Month, which focuses on the demanding challenges faced by family caregivers, and honor their compassion and generosity. The National Family Caregivers Association sponsors National Family Caregiver Month.

"Michigan citizens are encouraged to observe 2008 National Family Caregiver Month," says Sharon Gire, director of the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging (OSA). "Michigan has 1.3 million family caregivers who care for their loved ones and others, and they deserve our gratitude and respect."

This year it is estimated that unpaid Michigan family caregivers will contribute more than 1.4 billion hours, worth more than $13.4 billion, to care for those who are frail, chronically ill or disabled.

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Family caregivers assist their loved ones and others with daily living activities such as bathing, banking, shopping, food preparation and health care in order to meet their social, emotional, financial, homemaking, and health needs.

Some family caregivers must devote 24 hours a day, seven days a week to caregiving. Others are caregivers on an intermittent, part-time basis.

The overwhelming majority of caregiving is provided by concerned spouses and and adult children. Often they must juggle the demands of home, work and caring for others.

Caregiving involves sacrifice and a significant investment of one's time and energy. Because extended caregiving may cause emotional burn-out, OSA provides caregiver assistance and support with federal funding through the National Family Caregiver Support Program.

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