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
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.