By Dr. Jamie Huysman, LCSW, CFT
These are stressful, uncertain times. Taking a step back to regroup and focus is often the next indicated action for our sanity and well-being.
Family caregivers are not immune to the changes in the world around them. We have been doing so much with too little for far too long. It is frustrating that the issues and concerns we face are still not acknowledged as an issue important enough to be considered and addressed by those who would mold the future of our country.
So, why not? We should be included and considered in the conversation about where we go as a country. We need to be part of the conversation. And we have to stand up and say so. Caregiver lives matter!
We cannot afford to stay in the shadows and leave our fate to chance. Now is the time to mobilize our coalitions and inform every candidate in local, state, and the 2020 election of the fact that caregiving is a mainstream issue that affects a considerable population across the country. They need to know that we are voters—65 million strong, including 10 million Millennials and children under the age of 18. The number is 90 million when counting the parents who care for chronically ill and disabled children.
As family caregivers, we do not have the benefit of high-priced lobbyists to advocate for our interests in Washington, D.C. We have always been grassroots organizers and the time to step up our game and make our voices heard is now.
This is the time to send out a Caregiver SOS. We need to do this not only for ourselves, but also for those for whom we provide care. They deserve the best we can give, and we deserve the support we need to be our best selves.
We are fortunate to have advocacy groups like the WellMed Charitable Foundation, Family Caregiver Alliance, National Association of Caregivers, Caregiver Action Network, AARP, and the like that could help us get the conversation started. I hope that they will.
Dr. Jamie is a popular keynote speaker, media expert, and author. He co-authored the acclaimed “Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health & Happiness While Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss.” Dr. Huysman writes for Caregiver SOS, Connections, JoanLunden.com, Huddol.com, and blogs on PsychologyToday.com.