Each year, an estimated 53 million adults in the United States provide care to an older adult, or an adult with a disability, (AARP and National Alliance for Caregiving, 2020). A family caregiver is a person who provides care and assistance to a member of their family of origin or their family of choice, and it includes neighbors and friends. Family caregivers have become the backbone of our caregiving infrastructure. Many of them “struggle to balance their caregiving role with other family responsibilities and employment, and they often forgo rest and self-care” (2022 National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers).
The essential care and assistance family caregivers provide, enable their loved ones to live with dignity and remain in their communities. This has never been more evident than during the COVID-19 pandemic when their responsibilities intensified due to shelter-in-place mandates and the closure of formal services. Many caregivers had to make difficult decisions to keep their loved ones safe and healthy. While the caregiving experience can be overwhelming, caregiving can also be a rewarding and enriching journey.