As we prepare to celebrate National Caregivers Day this Friday, Feb. 19, keep in mind the day is set to honor individuals who help our loved ones live a better life. 

 We must remember that this not only includes appreciation to professional caregivers who often go above and beyond their expected duties. Who’s dedication and compassion rightfully deserve our respect and thanks, who often forgo their financial potential to provide for those in need, but also lets not forget the millions of unpaid family members, friends, neighbors and volunteer organizations that take time out of their busy lives to help those in need. Making a difference in someone’s life, making their day just a little bit brighter.

 Helping others can be as simple as running an errand for a neighbor who may struggle navigating sub zero temperatures, calling a shut in and reassuring them you are available should they need anything, even if it’s just to hear another person’s voice that day, to making sure someone is feed and cared for daily.

 Caregivers impact people’s lives in such significant ways, juggling tasks so they can provide the best care possible. Not out of duty or guilt but out of compassion and love.

They will usually be the last person to accept gratitude as they generally believe that the act of helping is more than enough reward. At times they will spend more time caring for others, forgetting to take time for themselves.

 This has probably never been truer then what we have experienced this past year. Our elderly and those with compromised health conditions have been more alone then anytime that I can recall. Caregivers have had to not only coupe with the time and effort they so unselfishly give, but are burdened with the fear of possibly affecting someone else’s health by simply being there for them.

 This is where we all can make a difference, By acknowledging those around us who have taken on caregiver rolls, maybe offering them a break even if it is only for an hour, a day or simply making them dinner. Sending them a card or even better yet giving them a call, remind them that what they are doing is not only important but special. To quote my sister in law, a caregiver in all sense of the word,” you don’t need to stand alone, sometimes it takes a village.” Be part of the village for the caregivers you know.

 We all came into this world needing a caregiver and there will come a time in our life, if it hasn’t already, that we all will need a caregiver again, to what extent and for how long may vary, but it is inevitable.

Let’s make sure we celebrate those that have taken on the roll and think of what we can do individually to continue one of the most basic and self fulfilling roles of humanity.

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