More than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled, or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one. Family caregivers are the foundation of long-term care nationwide, exceeding Medicaid long-term care spending in all states. National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare. March 2009
While most siblings don’t think of themselves as caregivers for their sisters and brothers with disabilities, it is one of the many roles they play, whether they are children or adults. Sisters especially play a huge role throughout their lives in providing care, companionship, and other needs of their siblings with disabilities, sometimes even from long distance.
“My sister doesn’t live with me but we have a routine that every night I call her and read her a story,” explained Barb Wentzel in a recent Sibling Panel discussion.
Siblings also recognize and value the need for paid caregivers to provide respite for their parents who may be doing the bulk of the caregiving. “It is important that parents receive respite care so they are able to pursue things that are important to them and spend time with their other children.” stated Christiana Yablonowski in her recent Sibling’s Choice nomination to honor Todd Steven & Associates for providing care and community support for her brother. READ MORE ABOUT SIBLING’S CHOICE AWARD WINNERS
It is estimated that in Wisconsin, 549,000 caregivers are providing 588,000 million hours of care to loved ones annually, valued at nearly $6 billion dollars. MORE INFO
Making up a significant portion of those caregivers are siblings caring for their aging parents AND their siblings with disabilities, often while caring for their own growing children!
To recognize the care providers, both paid and unpaid, who provide personal cares of all types to people with disabilities, older adults and other family members and friends who require support to remain healthy and living in their homes and communities, we celebrate National Caregiver Day on February 15, 2019 (3rd Friday of February).
Many of the siblings, usually sisters, caring for family members are also employees and often challenged to juggle the needs of their family members with job requirements. Often they must choose to either remain employed or leave to care for their family. Employers are feeling the effects.
I’m so pleased to be presenting at an upcoming Caregiver Conference hosted by the Waupaca County Caregiver Coalition. The main reason I’m so pleased is that they recognize that one of the many important roles of siblings of people with disabilities is that of a caregiver.
Whether that role is taking their sibling to appointments, to go shopping, acting as their guardian, or being a reliable companion and ready listener, SIBLINGS ARE CAREGIVERS, often at very young ages.
This conference will focus on Resiliency in Caregiving. So regardless who you may be caring for, consider attending.
In preparation for National Caregiver Month (November), WisconSibs, Inc is participating in the Wisconsin Family and Caregiver Support Alliance (WFACSA) You Might Be a Caregiver If… campaign to raise awareness of the needs of caregivers.